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Head Over Heels

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Songs by The Go-Go’s
Based Upon The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney
Conceived and original book by Jeff Whitty
Adapted by James Magruder
Directed by Matt M. Morrow

About the Show

From the visionary behind Avenue Q comes a bold new Broadway musical fairytale where “Once Upon a Time” crashes into right now. In the mythical land of Arcadia, the royal family is challenged to set out on a journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction. Through their adventure gender roles are upended, relationships liberated, and love is discovered in the most surprising of ways. Told to the hypnotic beat of the iconic 80’s all-girl rock band The Go-Go’s, Head Over Heels joyously unveils a path to a new world where diversity is celebrated and ladies lead!

About the Writers

The Go-Go’s (Music and Lyrics) From their halcyon days as America’s sweethearts to their current status as superstars who pioneered a genre, The Go-Go’s preside over an amazing three-decade reign as high pop priestesses. The internationally-loved pop hitmakers helped cement the foundation of the early 80’s pop-rock sound without the aid of outside composers, session players or, most importantly, creative compromise. From their very first show, The Go-Go’s sang and played their own songs, offering five feisty role models for a generation of ready-to-rock girls and good, hooky fun for pop-loving guys.

Their story truly is a punk version of the American Dream. They came, they saw and they conquered the charts, the airwaves and, with their kicky kitsch appeal, pop culture in general. For a while, the band was virtually inescapable: TV guest shots, magazine covers, high-profile concert tours and movie offers turned Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock and Kathy Valentine into certified rock stars. Their sparking California pop appealed to an astonishingly wide cross-section of music fans.

Sir Philip Sidney (Author, The Arcadia)  was an English poet, courtier, scholar, and soldier, who is remembered as one of the most prominent figures of the Elizabethan age. His works include Astrophel and StellaThe Defence of Poesy (also known as The Defence of Poetry or An Apology for Poetry), and The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia.(30 November 1554 – 17 October 1586)

Jeff Whitty (Concept, Playwright) is an actor and writer, known for Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018), Shortbus(2006) and Lisa Picard Is Famous (2000). Whitty won Broadway’s 2004 Tony Award as Best Book of a Musical for “Avenue Q.”

James Magruder (Adaptation) James Magruder is a playwright, translator, and fiction writer, currently represented on Broadway as co-bookwriter on Head Over Heels, the musical mash-up of Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia and the song catalogue of the Go-Go’s. His other translations and adaptations for the stage include Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love (Center Stage, Classic Stage Company, La Jolla Playhouse), the book for its musical version, Triumph of Love (Broadway and beyond, Germany, and Japan), Labiche’s Eating Crow (Dallas Main Street Theatre), Lesage’s Turcaret (Catalyst Theatre), Dancourt’s Knight Errant, Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid (Yale Repertory Theatre), Bougie Man, a version of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme for South Coast Rep, The Miser (Center Stage, Northlight Theatre), Gozzi’s The Love of Three Oranges(La Jolla Playhouse), Christmas Carol 1941 (Arena Stage),The Madwoman of Chaillot (American Conservatory Theatre) and Der Bourgeois Bigwig, a reconstruction of the Molière/Hofmannsthal/Strauss musical comedy for Princeton University. His Three French Comedies (Yale University Press) was named an “Outstanding Literary Translation” by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA).

His short fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg ReviewNew England ReviewSubtropicsThe Hopkins ReviewBloomThe Normal School, the anthologies Boy Crazy and New Stories from the Midwest, and elsewhere. His début novel, Sugarless, (University of Wisconsin Press) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and shortlisted for both the 2010 William Saroyan International Writing Prize and the VCU Cabell First Novelists Award. His second and third books of fiction are Let Me See It, a linked story collection (2014), and Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall (2016). Current projects include a musical version of Bertram Cope’s Year with composer Polly Pan; Save Yourself, a novel set in a summer stock theatre; and Staying in the Moment: Yale Rep at 50, a commissioned chronicle of the first fifty years of Yale Repertory Theatre.

He is a four-time fellow of the MacDowell Colony and a six-time recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. His writing has also been supported by Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, the Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the New Harmony Project, the Ucross Foundation, the Blue Mountain Center, the Jerome Foundation, and the 2010 Sewanee Writers’ Conference, where he was a Walter E. Dakin Fellow in Fiction. He holds degrees in French literature from Cornell and Yale and an M.F.A. and D.F.A. from Yale School of Drama.

He has worked as a dramaturg at Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival, South Coast Repertory Theatre, The Stratford Festival in Canada, and on Broadway. He has taught, off and on, at Swarthmore College, Princeton University, the University of Baltimore, and the Yale School of Drama.

Gerilyn Brault (Pamela) is thrilled to return to Diversionary where she was last seen as the divisive maid in The Moors. Other San Diego credits include: Intimate Apparel, Servant of Two Masters, Avenue Q, Buddy (New Village Arts), The Producers, The Hunchback of Notre DameSister Act (Moonlight Amphitheater), Buddy, I Hate Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Intrepid), The Producers, 9 to 5 (SDMT), Parallel Lives (Oceanside Theatre Company). She is an Associate Faculty member in Theatre at MiraCosta College, and the Artistic Director for Carlsbad Playreaders. She has an MFA in Acting from Purdue University and a BA in Musical Theatre from Chico State. On a personal note: the last time she performed on this stage she was still in the closet, and now she is an out and proud bisexual! It means more than ever to her to work for this theatre company that is so dedicated to representation and opening minds and hearts, and on this story of acceptance. It is never too late to embrace who you are. Visibility matters. You matter.

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Matt M.Morrow (Director) Since joining Diversionary as the Executive Artistic Director, Matt has directed the 20th Anniversary Legacy Production of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch,the San Diego Premiere of  The Civilians’ This Beautiful City, the World Premiere of Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald’s musical The Loneliest Girl in the World, Georgette Kelly’s Ballast (Winner, 2017 Best New Play, San Diego Critic’s Circle Awards), the San Diego Premiere of Bash Doran’s The Mystery of Love and Sex, among othersMatt recently directed Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine with The Old Globe/USD MFA program. Prior to joining Diversionary, Matt was the Associate Artistic Director of City Theatre Company, a LORT theatre in Pittsburgh, Development Director of Cherry Lane Theatre, NYC’s oldest Off Broadway theatre, and Development and Literary Director of Amas Musical Theatre, which pioneered multi-ethnic casting and production. He served as The John Wells Professor of Directing at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama (Graduate & Undergraduate Directing programs), and is a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. He holds a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.

a man wearing glasses

Head Over Heels bravely confronts the rapidly changing social, sexual, and gender dynamic of our day. I love that this story is told in verse, paying homage to its roots in Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia. And even though it’s a jukebox musical, The Go Go’s songs are interwoven so fluidly with intelligence and heart, that it feels like they were written for this story specifically. The mash up of rock music and verse create an altogether fresh and new mode of storytelling that is an explosion of pure joy!  

Top Ten of 2018, Entertainment Weekly

“A clever, delightful, bubbly, exuberant party!”
-New York Magazine

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