Fall in love with ‘Head Over Heels’
Linda Armstrong | 9/13/2018, 2:40 p.m.
Hurry to the Hudson Theatre and fall in love with “Head Over Heels!” This magnificent musical comedy will have you smiling, laughing and dancing in your seat to the marvelous, throwback songs of the Go-Go’s. Tunes include “Beautiful,” “Mad About You,” “Cool Jerk,” “Vacation,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Head Over Heels” and “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” The musical, based on “The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia” by Sir Philip Sidney, with conception and original book by Jeff Whitty and adapted by James Magruder, tells the story of the people of Arcadia. The people are proud that Arcadia has “the beat” and fear that the kingdom will lose it because of the
African-American performer Peppermint, who many might know from “Rupaul’s Drag Race,” is the first transgender person to star in a Broadway show. Playing Pythio the Oracle, she is absolutely a showstopper every moment she’s onstage. Her acting is amusing, her singing divine and she is surrounded by an immensely talented cast.
“Head Over Heels” is a vivid demonstration of the open mindedness of Broadway. Princess Pamela, the eldest daughter of King Basilius and his queen Gynecia, is a heavy-set girl who considers herself to be gorgeous and will not entertain any male suitors. The king wants her to marry to ensure the royal line and can’t understand why she turns down every single suitor. Neither does she, at first, until she gradually discovers her own attraction to females as she sings with her childhood friend and servant, Mopsa.
Pythio, the Oracle of Delphi, warns King Basilius that the kingdom is in danger, but he doesn’t believe her predictions. Meanwhile, other plotlines include the royal couple having marital issues, while their younger daughter, Philoclea, is in love beneath her station with the shepherd Musidorus. Musidorus receives help from Pythio and comes up with a very original way to disguise himself and be around Philoclea. The King’s viceroy, Dametas, who is also the father of Mopsa, knows of Pythio’s predictions and is not allowed to divulge any information to anyone.
The cast is superb! It includes African-American Taylor Iman Jones, who plays Mopsa, who gives a delightful and passionate performance as she declares her love for Pamela. Bonnie Milligan is amazing as Pamela. The chemistry between Jones and Milligan is fantastic to watch; they are passionate and also seem to be having a great deal of fun. Andrew Durand is hilarious as Musidorus, and his disguise shows his comedic acting prowess. Jeremy Kushnier is wonderful as Basilius. He is funny, as is Rachel York as his wife. Alexandra Socha is fabulous as Philoclea. Tom Alan Robbins is so humorous as Dametas. The entire cast have some very marvelous and powerful vocal instruments. It was really enjoyable to watch this musical comedy unfold. It is performed with great humor and a slew of
originality and fun.
“Head Over Heels” is a thoroughly enjoyable hoot. It has fun choreography by Spencer Liff, great costumes by Arianne Phillips, enchanting scenic design by Julian Crouch, lighting by Kevin Adams, sound by Kai Harada, music direction/conducting by Kimberly Grigsby and flawless direction by Michael Mayer. Mayer manages to consistently bring out the vast amount of humor in this musical. It was a blast to enjoy it with my teenage daughter.
Hurry to the Hudson Theatre on West 44th Street to experience “Head Over Heels.” Visit