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Head Over Heels
Head Over Heels

Head Over Heels
Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit
Thru - Sep 8, 2019

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Show Information

Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...Adams-King, Cerza and Resto come together for a blistering take on "Good Girl" that reminds us that, despite being dismissed as purveyors of bubble-gum pop that sanitized the LA punk scene that birthed them, the Go-Go's were not sweetness and light. As Carlisle once observed, "We had these angelic faces that hid a multitude of sins." The show isn't about the history of the Go-Go's, of course. But it is about seeing beyond surface judgments and societal expectations, which are certainly things the band had to fight. What "Head Over Heels" does is remind us that fighting back doesn't mean you can't have a good time, too."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Sun Times- Recommended

"...When trying to describe "Head Over Heels," the fresh-from-Broadway musical currently bopping its way into audiences' hearts at Theater Wit, it's hard not to sound like a Mad Libs. Case in point: Adapted from Phillip Sydney's 16th century pastoral prose romance "The Arcadia," "Head Over Heels" features the music of '80s New Wave icons the-Go-Go's and a book written (in part) by "Avenue Q" scribe Jeff Whitty. See? And yet, this dramaturgical decolletage is somehow electrically eclectic. Go figure."
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Alex Huntsberger

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...In Kokandy's production, directors Derek Van Barham and Elizabeth Swanson craft a joyful ode to all-gender romance and sex. Music director Kyra Leigh turns the production into a party, making the most of a live five-piece band. Listen for leading players Bridget Adams-King, Caitlyn Cerza, and Deanalís Resto (playing princess sisters and a lady-in-waiting, respectively) and their sleeper powerhouse "Good Girl." The more expected showstoppers-"We've Got the Beat," "Cool Jerk," and "Mad About You" among them-are every bit as enticing. And Breon Arzell's irreverent, joyful choreography puts an exclamation point on the whole shebang."
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Catey Sullivan

BroadwayWorld- Highly Recommended

"...Superbly directed by Derek Van Barham and Elizabeth Swanson, the show features all the usual tropes typical of Elizabethan comedies. A quest that leads the cast into a forest where everything soon goes astray? Check. Gender-bending disguises and mistaken identities? Check and check. On the surface, it is a light-hearted romp, but there's more going on here. In a nutshell, Elizabethan comedy meets modern constructs of gender fluidity in Kokandy's top-notch production of HEAD OVER HEELS."
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Misha Davenport Highly Recommended

"...Kokandy Productions has a knack for bringing large scale musicals to smaller spaces and making them as big as a Broadway stage. The sheer exuberance of “Head Over Heels” makes it immediately pleasurable, beginning with the opening rendition of “We Got the Beat.” It kicks off the life of the play, which uses its faux Shakespearian language to great comic effect. There is something to be said for combining 1980s pop/rock – especially the great songs of The Go-Go’s – with the intrigue of a kingdom in the time of princes and princesses."
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Patrick McDonald

Theatre By Numbers- Highly Recommended

"...This ensemble is freakishly talented, with everyone bringing their own artistic specialty to each role. Caitlyn Cerza as Philoclea ups the ante for inspiring ingenues everywhere by treating us to a magical operatic range. Parker Guidry as Pythio owns the room with the smallest gesture of their hand, along with a rotating line up of sparkling, gauzy lingerie - something new for every entrance, of course. And you can't take your eyes off Jeremiah Alsop as Musidorous or as the armor-clad Amazon Cleophila. As Musidorous adds complexity to their gender identity, Alsop is a genuine, endearing vocal presence to observe. "Head Over Heels" is a sterling example of how we should regard self-discovery in the real world: with open arms."
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Sean Margaret Wagner

Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...Above all, a brilliantly cast company gives our quirky and convoluted Arcadians their full dramatic due. For all its mannered make-believe, Head Over Heels is a non-binary feast of alternative delights. More than most musicals, there really is something for everyone on Theater Wit's well-bursting stage."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine- Highly Recommended

"...Queer fairy tales are exactly what our world needs right now. Head Over Heels does the difficult work of overthrowing heteronormative, whitewashed, and misogynistic tropes rampant in cultural storytelling while providing a fun, comedic, light-hearted story set to a series of catchy, upbeat songs. Do yourself a favor and escape to Arcadia for a few hours. You’ll be glad you did."
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Jessie Bond

Around The Town Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...From it's very beginnings, back in 2010, I have found that Kokandy Productions has worked hard to make certain that what they bring to the Chicago audiences is unique and powerful theater. The Chicago premiere they are bringing to us at Theater Wit has solid talent and a premise that is very theatrical and desirable, but many may find it far to long at over 2 hours and 3o minutes and perhaps just a wee "too much"!. This is a musical based on "The Arcadia" by Sir Phillip Sidney, using the music of The Go-Go's and with a new book written by Jeff Whitty ( who also conceived the concept) and then the entire story was adapted by James Magruder. Perhaps the line "too many cooks spoil the broth" comes into play here as perhaps they have taken it to a place that the original never dreamed of going."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...If every jukebox musical were as in your face, no-nonsense and silly as this one, I wouldn't hate them. Then again, there isn't a jukebox musical quite like "Head Over Heels." Part Go-Go's concert, part seventeenth-century romance and part phantasmagorical fashion show, "Head Over Heels" is a love story we desperately need. While it has all the garment swapping of Shakespeare, at its heart this musical is enlightened. The characters not only find love outside of themselves, but within as well."
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Amanda Finn

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...With its poetic dialogue, outlandish, cross-dressing characters, mistaken identities and unrequited love, this comic confectionary has a great deal in common with Shakespeare’s finest works. But wait: there’s more! There’s ribald wordplay and raunchy sight gags, flowing wigs and glittering finery, flashing swords and interludes of much-loved retro music and dance that make this lighthearted musical-with-a-message the ideal warm weather wingding."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh- Highly Recommended

"...As a huge fan of The Go-gos (I had all three albums and Charlotte Caffey is my spirit animal), I was excited to see this modern day twist on a classic accompanied by music of my youth. HEAD OVER HEELS was more than poppy, it was poignant. Although my twelve year old niece, from Indiana, enjoyed it, the two older couples in our row didn't return after intermission. HEAD OVER HEELS is not your mama's musical, it's your niece's."
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Katy Walsh

Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended

"...It’s rare that a comedic romp can have something so profound to say, and it’s telling that this crew of artists sticks the landing and has such a fun time doing it. Kokandy’s Head Over Heels is a breezy summer treat, and a reminder that when we embrace all identities with love as our truest compass, we’ll make heaven a place on earth. And ooo baby, do you know what that’s worth?"
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Ian Rigg

Third Coast Review- Highly Recommended

"...Running more than two hours with a brief intermission, the production features the iconic music of The Go-Gos and manages to remain engaging and provocative for its entirety-perhaps due to the lively audience that filled nearly every seat on opening night."
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Katie Priest

Storefront Rebellion- Recommended

"...The whole production here exudes such large-hearted, let’s-put-on-a-show gaiety (or should that be queerity?) that it’s impossible not to like, even at its shaggiest. The whole cast is winning, but I’d give special commendation to Guidry, big-voiced Adams-King and Alsop, who puts a sly spin on his all-genders ingenue. It’s like a high-minded beach read; for smartly silly summer fun, get up and go, go."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...While other jukebox musicals opt to tell a story that loosely connects the songs (Mamma Mia) or frame them within a biography of the artist(s) involved (Beautiful, Jersey Boys), Head Over Heels dares to be different and succeeds a joyfully surprising amount of the time. The Go-Gos' music is handled very well. "We Got the Beat" (of course) opens the show and defines the central aspect of life in Arcadia. King's renditions of songs like "Beautiful" and "How Much More" declare her character's outsized personality, while Cerza's more internalized character is clear in "Good Girl." Alsop shines in such songs as "Mad About You," expressing the deep love that won't allow him to quit his pursuit of Philoclea."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...It’s difficult to zero in on any one of the cast who shines the brightest because this is one heckuva GENDER FLUID GOT TALENT show. This reviewer went scrambling to the program notes to see who was the keeper of casting, which was truly inspired and especially in the choice of Jeremiah Alsop as a shepherd who goes into Amazon drag to better woo his love interest princess, and for casting triple threat Frankie Leo Bennett as the King. Of all the priceless moments in this production- and there are many!—the pregnant pause given to Bennett as he tunes in a new gender bender reality is a show capper that will keep you smiling as you walk out the door."
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Amy Munice

Rescripted- Highly Recommended

"...Head Over Heels, infused with the classic pop hits of The Go-Go's as well as original music, has instantly become a musical theater standard. Based on the pastoral prose-poem The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney, this jubilant and thoroughly modern piece of theater delights and entertains on a grand scale. Replete with powerhouse songs, dance numbers, and an engaging story, Kokandy Productions' Head Over Heels is a must-see summer musical."
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Sheri L. Flanders