Head Over Heels, an upbeat musical featuring hit songs by the Go-Go’s, will be staged at Pomona College’s Seaver Theatre for five performances November 17-20 as part of the Pomona College Department of Theatre and Dance 2022-23 season.
The musical juxtaposes a late-sixteenth century romantic poem by Sir Philip Sidney, “The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia,” with pop-punk music of the 1980s. A modern fairy tale, it centers queer love, mistaken identities and changing social norms.
Gleason Bauer, visiting assistant professor of theatre who is directing the production, describes the premise as “an older generation that is set in its ways, and a younger generation that is experiencing a kind of forbidden love, and it’s all mashed up with the Go-Go’s catalogue.”
Rosie Corr ’23 is performing in the show as part of her senior thesis in the theatre department performance track. Her dream someday is to be a regional theatre artistic director “and use theatre to positively impact a community,” she says. In Head Over Heels, along with acting, she has served as dance captain and assistant choreographer, helping cast members learn the steps and feel confident in their presentation on stage. “The whole show is really about searching for your identity and the idea of mistaken identity—the identity that you feel you have is not the one that other people always see,” says Corr. It explores “how you battle with that and overcome that and learn to love yourself and embrace yourself in spite of it.”
Lucy Kirkpatrick ’24 thinks the audience will resonate with the story of personal discovery and “exploring your identities and embracing some new person that you might have realized you are.” To Kirkpatrick, who plays multiple roles, the musical is a “combination of humor and a very meaningful story.”
This is the first Pomona College production for Harold Fuson PZ ’26, who says he performed in theatre throughout high school. “I think my favorite part is how driving it is. I love the energy, and I think all the songs are really catchy,” he says. Making time in his schedule for up to 20 hours a week of rehearsal has meant cutting back on other activities outside the classroom. But, he says, “I’ve grown really, really close with this cast.”
By contrast, this is the third show for Youssef El Mosalami ’24, who says, “I think I’ve learned to balance a lot, because rehearsals take a lot of time.” El Mosalami adds, “Learning more about myself I feel like has really informed a lot of my acting choices and things that I do on stage.”
Director Bauer says that the production offers the community “a really high energy, super fun musical that centers queer characters and does it in a really joyful way.” In an era “when we’re getting so much bad news, we have this really fantastic two hours to spend with these characters,” Bauer adds. “We can smile and laugh and be uplifted by the song and the dance, and also be left with a really positive message about an inclusive way of thinking about love and about identity.” By the end of the show, “I would love it if people felt totally welcome to stand up and hoot and holler and dance along with us.”
Tickets for Head Over Heels are available online or at the box office with credit or debit card only. Masks are required; no exceptions. Seaver Theatre is located at 300 E. Bonita Ave., Claremont.