The fresh from Broadway musical, Head Over Heels is on stage at Actors Express. The play challenges societal expectations of sex and gender norms, combining 1580s prose with 1980s pop.
The story in Head Over Heels is based on The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, or simply Arcadia, a book by Sir Philip Sidney written in the 1580s, which was a romantic farce that touched on sexuality and cross-dressing.
James Magruder who adapted classical text of the 16th century work, Arcadia, refers to Head Over Heels as “a show with an open, generous, inclusive heart for heartless times.” The 1980s pop is supplied by the all-female band, The GoGo’s.
“All of the dialogue is blank verse, just like Shakespeare, but with very contemporary language used to great comic effect. Some of the jokes in the show wouldn’t land if it weren’t written in this slightly heightened language, but it’s also easy to follow,” said “Head Over Heels” director Freddie Ashley.
One of the musical’s characters, Pythio, is said to be the first Broadway role written for a gender non-binary actor. Trevor Perry plays the role for Actors Express and was particularly moved by this character in the Broadway production, played by RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Peppermint.
“I felt like it was definitely about time that more of these roles and parts are allowed to be open to non-binary people. I saw the show on closing night of Broadway in a house full of every color of the rainbow, every gender representation, and the show was so magical,” Perry said.
“Head Over Heels” is currently on stage now through Aug. 25.
This story was originally published with audio on WABE.org.