Andra Velis Simon
Head Over Heels is directed by Columbia College Theatre Department faculty member Donterrio, with musical direction by faculty member Andra Velis Simon and choreography by faculty member Shanna VanDerwerker. All three are teachers in the Columbia College Theatre Department’s BA/BFA Program in Musical Theatre.
Inspired by Sir Philip Sidney’s 16th-century pastoral romance The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, the 2018 Broadway musical features songs by The Go-Go’s. The show focuses on the romantic adventures of the royal family of mythical Arcadia on their journey to keep their famous “Beat.” This ribald comic extravaganza tears down gender, race, body type, and age stereotypes with abandon.
“Head Over Heels is based on a historic text and the songbook of a band formed in the ’70s,” notes Susan Padveen, the interim Allen and Lynn Turner Chair of the Columbia College Theatre Department. “Still, it is fresh and new and contemporary as it deals with issues on minds and hearts today. We are thrilled our students get to work on this material, and you get to see it. Thank you for supporting live theatre!”
And Donterrio addresses his concept for the show in this director’s note: “In a world defined by likes, shares, retweets, and follows, it makes perfect sense that we yearn to be led. We find our communities of like-minded people, and we allow the loudest among them to guide us. No matter how right or wrong they may be. This idea goes deeper than social media. This idea is a social construct that runs through the core of our country. There is a silent rule that we maintain as well. We must never question the thoughts and actions of our leaders.
“Well . . . our production of Head Over Heels takes a punk rock sledgehammer to that idea. What you’re about to witness is a community rising above the iron yoke of tradition and creating a world that is built on love, trust, and honesty, a world where you can be who you want to be and love who you want to love as long as you listen to your heart. This show doesn’t just live in 1700s Arcadia. This story lives right outside these theatre doors. This story lives in your church, school, maybe even your workplace. For change to occur, something must be lost. But it’s what you do after that loss that defines your future. I hope as you watch this show, you’ll leave with the tools to guide your community out from under the iron yoke of tradition into a vision of nowness. Enjoy the show.”