Head Over Heels for ‘Head Over Heels’


courtesy of variety.com

Yulliet Ruiz, News Editor

One wouldn’t automatically put together music from The Go-Gos, a renaissance play set in ancient Greece and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. However, that’s exactly what the musical “Head Over Heels” did.

The story, inspired by Sir Philip Sidney’s poem “The Arcadia,” is set in Ancient Greece in a kingdom named Arcadia, where something called “the beat” keeps all its citizens happy. The kingdom is ruled over by  King Basillius (played by Jeremy Kushnier) and his wife Gycenia (an outstanding Rachel York). They have two daughters: the young Philoclea (Alexandra Socha), who is in love with a lowly shepherd (Andrew Durand), and the very vain Pamela (played by a great Bonnie Mulligan) who cannot find a suitor who fits her fancy. Taylor Iman Jones played Mopsa, Pamela’s female attendant who just may have what she needs.

After Pythio, the Oracle of Delphi, (played by Peppermint, a former contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race) foretells a prophecy that can cause the end of Arcadia as they know, King Basillus packs up his family and his things and sets on his way to prevent the prophecy from coming true.

The jukebox musical is set to the songs of 80’s girl band, The Go-Go’s. The musical features such hits as “We Got The Beat,” “Vacation” and  “Head Over Heels.” The songs are interwoven through the plot, seamlessly combining the two.

However, what makes this musical a knock out is not only its spectacular cast and catchy tunes. The representation and inclusion that the show displays makes it great.

The oracle of Delphi is non-binary, using the pronoun “them.” “I am neither a he nor she but a them,” says the character when introducing themselves. Peppermint, who plays the oracle, is the first transgender person to have a staring role in a musical.

One of the main romantic subplots features a lesbian couple. Pamela, who is portrayed as the pinnacle of beauty is a plus-sized woman. These are just some examples of how the show  breaks ground and does not stick to the status-quo.

What can be a little disconcerting at first is the speech, with many “thee’s” and “thou’s” being thrown in. But the story is based on a 16th century Elizabethan poem, so it is to be expected.

Although the ending is a little cheesy, “Head Over Heels” is exactly what people need in this day and age. It explores fluidity in gender and sexuality without being too preachy. It’s also just an overall fun show to watch, with great music and a lot of laughs.

”Head Over Heels” is currently playing at Hudson Theatre in New York City.