The Go-Go’s may be one of those quintessential ’80s bands, but their latest project, Head Over Heels, takes on an entirely different century.
The musical, which is set to make its world premiere at the Curran this month, is a retelling of Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia, his Elizabethan romp written sometime in the 1580s. This production includes the band’s rockin’ girl-power beats and hits such as “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and frontwoman Belinda Carlisle’s No. 1 smash, “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” Directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), the story is set in ancient Greece and concerns a royal family’s attempt to prevent the fulfillment of an oracle’s dark prophecy.
If the idea of a Broadway musical stocked with the infectious tunes of an old-school pop band imagined in Greece sounds familiar, though, the similarities stop there. Mayer says that, while Mamma Mia! was meant to be kitschy, Head Over Heels is artistically sophisticated, with a classic text and a feminist message.
“It’s a cautionary tale about what might happen if the patriarchy goes unchecked,” says Mayer. “But it’s all done with incredible wit and charm and great music.”
So why pair Sir Philip with a 1980s-era girl group? For one thing, Gwyneth Paltrow, one of the show’s producers, calls the Go-Go’s her favorite band, says Mayer. “She said, ‘And my baby daddy [Coldplay frontman Chris Martin] is just going to have to take a pill about that.’ ”
Although Paltrow’s seal of approval is swell, the Go-Go’s are indeed one of the most successful all-female bands ever. They were the first girl band to write their own songs, play their own instruments and top the Billboard charts.
“There’s a lot I can say about the Arcadian ideal and ancient Greece,” Mayer adds. “But no one gives a shit. The truth is, the musical is hilarious and completely accessible to a modern audience.”
Head Over Heels plays the Curran April 10–May 6. $29–$165.
p.s. After the show head to any Humphry Slocombe location to try the new, limited-edition flavor We Got the Beet, made with organic beets homemade raspberry jam and hand-squeezed lime juice.