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Head Over Heels

“Boundary-pushing fun”

After the short-lived West End disaster of Viva Forever! in 2012, based on the back catalogue of the Spice Girls, building another jukebox show around the all-female late 1970s/early 1980s new wave rockers the Go-Go’s might have been seen as asking for trouble. But Head over Heels broadly succeeds because of the inclusivity of its non-binary message.

Much in the mould of Mamma Mia!, it smartly pairs an unrelated story with familiar hits – in this case the back catalogue of the Go-Go’s (and its breakaway solo star Belinda Carlisle, whose Heaven is a Place on Earth is the show’s most recognisable number).

As with the Broadway hit Something Rotten! and the current Off-Broadway show Desperate Measures, the production is set in an intentionally anachronistic Elizabethan milieu, complete with (a slightly wearying) use of iambic pentameter for the dialogue and a witty pop-up Elizabethan cartoon theatre set by British designer Julian Crouch.

There are several nods to Shakespeare, in particular Twelfth Night, while the plot is borrowed from the Arcadia, an Elizabethan prose poem by Philip Sidney. Avenue Q’s co-creator Jeff Whitty’s book (now adapted by James Magruder) follows a royal family who, finding themselves cursed by the Oracle of Delphi and to prevent its prophesy of doom, becomes entangled in a series of liaisons that test the meaning and method of forbidden loves.

The oracle is played by Peppermint, star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, who is making history as the first transgender woman to take on a leading role in a Broadway show. That’s cause for celebration enough; but this genuinely celebratory show also generates a lot of inclusive, boundary-pushing fun – including, appropriately, an all-female band too.

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Production Details
Production nameHead Over Heels
VenueHudson Theatre
LocationNew York
StartsJune 23, 2018
EndsFebruary 17, 2019
Running time2hrs 15mins
AdaptorJames Magruder
ComposerThe Go-Go's
Book writerJeff Whitty
DirectorMichael Mayer
Musical directorKimberly Grigsby
ChoreographerSpencer Liff
Set designerJulian Crouch
Costume designerArianne Phillips
Lighting designerKevin Adams
Sound designerKai Harada
CastAlexandra Socha, Andrew Durand, Bonnie Milligan, Jeremy Kushnier, Peppermint ., Rachel York, Taylor Iman Jones, Tom Alan Robbins
ProducerAdam Gorgoni, Art Lab Llc, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Carrie Clifford, Christine Russell, Donovan Leitch, Dr. Michael Mintz, Eric Cornell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hunter Arnold, Jordan Roth, Julie Boardman, Llc, Louise Gund, Mara Burros-Sandler, Networks Presentations, Rick Ferrari, Robert Kravis, Scott Sigman, The John Gore Organization, Tom Kirdahy, Van Horn Doran Group, Vikram Chatwal
VerdictA jukebox musical with a surprising twist makes for a heady celebration of the Go-Go's and non-binary awareness
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Mark Shenton

Mark Shenton

Mark Shenton

Mark Shenton

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