Head Over Heels
By Jeff Whitty, music and lyrics by the Go-Go's
Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar
Originally produced at Oregon Shakespeare Festival , Ashland, OR .
June 3, 2015 through October 10, 2015
About the Premiere Production
A duke. A mysterious prophecy. Two daughters: one mobbed by suitors, the other . . . not so much. And all set to the beat of 1980s pop icons the Go-Go’s? An Elizabethan love story is turned on its head in this exuberant musical by playwright Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler), inspired by Sir Philip Sidney’s 16th-century pastoral romance, Arcadia. This world premiere promises a delicious mix of razor-sharp wordplay, infectious songs and romantic surprises.
Rarely has a production fit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival mission as clearly as Head Over Heels. This musical lovingly explores the depths of its Elizabethan source material while staying as accessible and electrifying as a pop song. Head Over Heels gives us irreverence, political satire and profound truths about identity, love, sexual freedom and social mores . . .yet like every comic genius, Jeff Whitty delivers his truths in disguise, always under the cover of laughter. Head Over Heels is based on Sir Philip Sidney's 16th-century prose romance The Arcadia. Whitty infuses the Elizabethan story and setting with the music of the 1980s rock group the Go-Go's, creating a sublimely funny mash-up. He and director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar are frequent collaborators, and their shared appreciation for the profundity of silliness and sheer joy onstage suits this project perfectly. Not only does Head Over Heels bring exhilarating music and contemporary relevance to OSF's oldest and largest venue, the Allen Elizabethan Theatre's tudor façade provides the perfect backdrop for this mix of time periods.
The additional rehearsal time made possible by the grant contributes invaluably to the development of Head Over Heels. The full creative team will assemble for the first time, giving Jeff, Ed, the designers and cast the opportunity to dive into the material together, and allowing the actors especially to begin preparing early for what promises to be a complex, demanding and vocally challenging production. The additional rehearsal assures the refinement of the script, music, staging and conceptual framework.
Director: Ed Sylvanus Iskandar
Set Design: Christopher Acebo
Lighting Design: Jane Cox
Sound Design: Kai Harada
Costume Design: Loren Shaw
Additional creative team: Albert Blackstone (Associate Choreographer), David Carey (Voice and Text), Rebecca Clark Carey (Voice and Text), Carmel Dean (Music Director), Lue Morgan Douthit (Dramaturg), Sonya Tayeh (Choreographer), Mandy Younger (Stage Manager)
Cast: Talia Ashe, Alyssa Birrer, Rodney Gardiner, Jason Gotay, Kyle Hines, Curtis Holland, Briawna Jackson, Ashley D. Kelley, David Kelly, Miriam A. Laube, Michele Mais, Bonnie Milligan, Javier Munoz, Barret O'Brien, Shanti Ryle, Britney Simpson, Jonathan Luke Stevens, John Tufts
Additional Funders: Amy and Mort Friedkin, Charlotte Lin and Robert P. Porter, Sandy Farewell, Anonymous