Head Over Heels, a punk rock Shakespearean romp set to the classic 80’s songs of The Go-Go’s. I recently challenged my teenager, who is Broadway musical obsessed, to write her first Broadway review about this show after having seen a Saturday matinee last month, getting a quick tour of the stage and the wings of the theater, and meeting Peppermint, the first trans woman to create a principle role on Broadway. As you can imagine, I’m a pretty proud dad already but sharing her Head Over Heels Broadway review by my girl and edited together is next level.
He/She/They/We Doth Hath The Beat — A Head Over Heels Broadway Review
by Julie Bogle
Not only is it a thrilling new production taking Broadway by storm this summer, it’s a perfect case study in the belief that ‘there are no accidents’. “Head Over Heels’” Broadway fictional kingdom of Arcadia couldn’t have found a better Manhattan home if it tried. Being the first female-managed theater on Broadway, the Hudson is the ideal setting for this risk taking, gender-bending, sexual disorienting, smash-the-patriarchy new musical.
After the death of her husband on the RMS Titanic, Renee Harris assumed the role of Hudson’s manager in the very early 1900s. Over the next 115 years, after Ethel Barrymore would star in the theater’s first ever production, the Hudson played host to an adult cinema in the seedy 70s and a rock venue during the decadent 80s, before being reborn as a Broadway destination again in 2017. This brand new old lady now features generous legroom and the most fierce air conditioning on the Great White Way (seriously, bundle up).
This remarkable production filled with wacky stories, over the top characters, and heartfelt romances where you least expect them, will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish — and not always because your body will ache to dance along with the music you already know by heart.
Whether you can recite all of Romeo and Juliet by heart or don’t know your Othellos from your Hamlets, you’ll quickly catch on to the Elizabethan language rapidly being spit out by the crack cast of “Head Over Heels”. Even if you do struggle with the spoken dialogue early in the performance, you will be in lock-step with the actors once they begin to sing (and the 5-piece all female band starts to rock) because the entire plot of this audacious musical is driven by the music of the Go-Go’s (along with some of Belinda Carlisle’s solo work), including famous songs like “Vacation”, “We Got The Beat”, the tune from which the show derives its name, “Head Over Heels”, and “Mad About You” which is given the royal t-shirt treatment at the merch booths in the Hudson Theater.
Equally as beautiful as the show’s well-designed merchandise for sale in the back of the house are the costumes up on stage. The garb of the Oracle, who appears throughout the show always sporting an even more extravagant outfit, often covered in sparkly sequins, is especially amazing.
With all the magical scenes, new and old styles of theatrical production (some campy like the adorably low-tech mermaid scene set to “Vacation”), you will find nothing else like “Head Over Heels” on Broadway (or anywhere else). In a way, the colorful history of the theater was blended together to give us this beautiful musical about truth, love, and courage. It’s as if the Hudson’s fascinating, winding 115 year journey lead us straight to “Head Over Heels” today.
With lesbian and non-binary characters, a central theme of big-is-so-very-beautiful, and Peppermint who plays the Oracle of Delphi and is the first out transgender woman to have a principle role in a Broadway production, “Head Over Heels” is an empowering musical for anyone who on a journey of self-discovery.
It’s also a really fun two hours.