Head Over Heels (2022)

Conceived by and Original Book by Jeff Whitty
Adapted by James Magruder
Music and Lyrics by The Go-Go's
Based on the 16th-century novel The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney

March 2-25, 2022
Marcelle Theater
Show Webpage
Production Photos

Princess Pamela – Grace Langford
Musidorus – Clayton Humburg
Princess Philoclea – Melissa Felps
Mopsa – Dawn Schmid
King Basilius – Zachary Allen Farmer
Queen Gynecia – Carrie Wenos Priesmeyer
Pythio – TiĆ©lere Cheatem
Dametas – Colin Dowd
Arcadians – Kevin Corpuz, Evan Fornachon,
Chris Kernan, Chris Moore, Maggie Nold,
Michelle Sauer, Alyssa Wolf, Sara Rae Womack

Conductor/Keyboard – Nicolas Valdez
Lead Guitar – Aaron Rugo
Guitar – Jaylen Edwards
Percussion – Clancy Newell
Bass – John Gerdes

Director – Scott Miller
Music Director – Nicolas Valdez
Choreographers – Michelle Sauer, Sara Rae Womack
Stage Manager – Erin Goodenough
Scenic Designer – Rob Lippert
Costume Designer – Courtney Gibson, Sarah Porter
Sound Designer – Ryan Day
Lighting Design – Kenneth Zinkl
Props Master – Kimi Short
Scenic Crew – Richard Brown, Nick Brunstein, Patrick Donnigan,
Patrick Donnigan, Kathleen Dwyer, Gary Karasek,
Luca Pritchett, Paul Troyke, Victoria Xu
Volunteer Coordinator – Alison Helmer
Graphic Designer – Matt Reedy
Photographer – Jill Ritter Lindberg

"Head Over Heels thoroughly entertains. The themes and story are charmingly comic and completely relevant. The book’s light touch ensures its messages about love and acceptance are easy to embrace, even in flyover country. Miller’s engaging direction keeps the musical comedy upbeat and the audience involved through both uncertain and declarative moments. Most importantly, exceptional performances have the audience cheering for the characters and for love to conquer all while the infectious songs of The Go-Go’s perfectly hit the mark." – Tina Farmer, KDHX

"New Line Theatre, which was forced to close its hit production of the musical Head Over Heels with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, revives the show with an even better version this March. If the infectious music of the Go-Go’s and a witty, clever script are your choices of entertainment, you’ll be delighted with New Line’s effervescent presentation of this agreeable romp. . . The zesty, exuberant choreography created by Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack is better and tighter in this new presentation than in the 2020 version." – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

"Two years later, Head Over Heels is back at New Line. The original production was splendid. So is the revival. . . The perceptive stage direction by Scott Miller in complete sympathy with the show. The score sounds wonderful thanks to New Line band under Miller’s musical direction. The dance numbers sparkle in the exuberant choreography by Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack." – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

“Exactly two years ago, when COVID-19 was about to cast the live theater world into a kind of suspended animation, New Line Theatre put on a dazzling regional premier of the Go-Go's inspired stage musical Head Over Heels. . . it's still a thrill to watch and to get caught up in the swirl of it. Head Over Heels' vocal and dance magic remains in excellent working order. . . It's a jukebox musical that transcends the category, reshuffling the popular 1980s girl group's songbook into a 16th century smash hit poem, complete with Day-Glo doublet and hose, and some very up to date gender pronouns.” – Richard Green, Talkin Broadway

"There’s a (near-riotous) party going on at New Line Theatre. Scott Miller and his merry band have unleashed Head Over Heels. Unleashed again, that is. Their first production was stopped in its tracks two years ago this month by the pandemic. Celebrate by heading to The Marcelle Theater and settling in for an evening of fun. . . And then there’s the choreography from Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack, dazzling and athletic and in-your-face. . . Miller directed this, and he’s hit it out of the park. It’s a good example of the whole new world of musical theatre." – Ann Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks

"Two years ago, New Line opened exactly the kind of show that makes this oddball company a treasure of St. Louis theater: hip, zesty and largely unknown. New Line founder Scott Miller has an uncanny gift for discovering these gems; I call it Playdar. . . Here’s the great news: New Line has mounted it again, in a hilarious production that involves nearly all the same actors and artists. . . A masterful, genre-crossing, achronological mashup." – Judy Newmark, All the World’s a Stage

WELCOME BACK! Can you believe it’s been two years?

We live in an age of mashup, the art of combining forms and content that shouldn't go together, to form something new and wonderful. Head Over Heels is one of the most interesting mashups I've yet encountered, slamming 16th-century Elizabethan language and morality up against 1980s punk-pop, and slamming them both up against the sexual and gender politics of America right now. It's a heady brew.

The result is breathtaking – funny, shocking, ironic, surprising, ridiculous, revealing, smart, insightful, and deliciously goofy. This show follows Stephen Sondheim's Cardinal Rule, that Content Dictates Form. In this world, love doesn't follow any normal rules, so neither does the show. Gender is nearly irrelevant here, and along with the royal family, we in the audience find many of our preconceptions and assumptions turned gleefully upside-down. But though sexuality permeates the plot, this isn't a story about sex; it's a story about connection and self-awareness, and how one requires the other.

Only after these characters are able to achieve some self-awareness are they able to connect meaningfully. And the road to that self-awareness is very painful for them and very funny for us. We can laugh at them partly because this show swims in 21st century irony, and that gives us some emotional distance, but also because we can all see ourselves and our own ridiculous romantic blunders in these characters and events on stage. And in that recognition, we in the audience also come to some amount of self-awareness and connection, along with the characters.

Every assumption we have is up for grabs in this world. Our usual ideas about gay and straight, male and female, love and lust, beauty and attraction, are all enthusiastically upended. And that often revealing dissonance between the real world and the world of Head Over Heels is the source of lots of rich, insightful, human comedy. We never know what's coming next in this modern fairy tale because this world operates so differently from ours. And that's the crazy fun of this adventure. It's never safe to assume anything in this world. Anything.

It wasn't all that long ago that catalog musicals (or jukebox musicals, as some folks call them) were just a punch line. At their best, those shows were guilty pleasures. But Jersey Boys showed us a catalog musical can be well-structured, well-written, and ultimately, really powerful musical theatre. Then Michael Mayer became the Hal Prince of the catalog musical, as he expanded and enlivened the form with the brilliant American Idiot, Head Over Heels, and Jagged Little Pill. Since we already produced American Idiot in 2016, it's been huge fun working on this show again, seeing how this rich sub-sub-genre is evolving...