Pasadena Playhouse’s re-imagined, immersive production of Head Over Heels began performances in California November 9. The show is scheduled to run through December 12.
Directed, choreographed, and conceived by Jenny Koons and Sam Pinkleton, Pasadena Playhouse presents the musical in a 90-minute, intermission-free staging with actors performing throughout the converted theatre; every seat (or spot on the dance floor) has an individual vantage point.
An updated take on Philip Sidney’s Arcadia, Head Over Heels tells the story of a royal family that must prevent an oracle's prophecy of doom. In order to save their beloved kingdom, the family embarks on an extravagant journey wrought with mistaken identities, jealous lovers, sexual awakening, scandal and self-discovery, where everything (and everyone) is not quite what it seems.
The production stars Alaska 5000 (RuPaul’s Drag Race) as Queen Gynecia, Lea DeLaria (Orange Is the New Black, On the Town) as King Basilius, Yurel Echezarreta (Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story) as The Player, Tiffany Mann (Be More Chill) as Pamela, George Salazar (Little Shop of Horrors, Be More Chill) as Musidorus, Emily Skeggs (Fun Home) as Mopsa, Shanice Williams (NBC’s The Wiz Live!) as Philoclea, and Freddie (Melanin Monroe) as The Oracle.
The production also has music direction by Kris Kukul, scenic design by David Meyer, costumes by Hahnji Jang, lighting by Stacey Derosier, sound design by Danny Erdberg and Ursula Kwong Brown, casting by Ryan Tymensky of The Telsey Office, and stage management by Sara Sahin.
The musical, based on the concept written by Avenue Q Tony winner Jeff Whitty for the musical's 2015 premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, was adapted for Broadway by James Magruder. It opened at the Hudson Theatre July 26, 2018 playing 36 previews and 164 performances before closing January 6, 2019.