I think Head Over Heels is Showboat in disguise. Both musicals are about pretending and searching for love and acceptance. Show Boat is a musical with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Head Over Heels by The Go-Go’s is a musical adapted from The Countess of Pembroke written by Sir Philip Sidney in the 16th century. The Go-Go’s are no Jerome Kern, and Showboat is no Head Over Heels, but they both capture the heart and dreams of a better world.
WHERE’S THE MATE FOR ME? from Showboat – LYRICS
Sometimes I thank my lucky stars my heart is free
And other times I wonder where’s that mate for me?
WE GOT THE BEAT from Head Over Heels – LYRICS
See the people walking down the street
Fall in line just watching all their feet
They don’t know where they wanna go
But they’re walking in time.
I think we’re all walking in time and searching for someone to love and to be loved in return. Such is life . . . and we’ve all been there.
Queen Gynecia (LaNita Hudson Walters) has many concerns. All may seem right with the kingdom, but the queen knows it is time for her two daughters to settle down. She also wants her husband, the king, to settle down and love only her. We’ve seen Walters in three productions this year at Tacoma Musical Playhouse. She has a fantastic voice, so we smile every time we see listed in a cast.
The Queen’s eldest daughter is “Perfect” Pamela (Sage Stevens), who is holding out for the perfect man. Her handmaiden, Mopsa (Christine Choate) has other ideas.
The Queen’s younger daughter is Philoclea (Jillian Harrison) who knows who she wants for her husband; but Musidorus (Erik Davis) is just a lowly shepherd. Philoclea cannot go against the rigid traditions and expectations of the king and queen . . . or can she?
King Basilius (Daniel Guzman on the left) with his toady, Dametas (Jeffery Weaver – far right) seek guidance from Pythio the Oracle (Anton Johnson – center). Guzman does a great job as a wondering king with a wandering eye and an absolute conviction that whatever he thinks/wants is absolutely justified. Weaver plays an excellent sycophant who cares about the king and the kingdom. Pythio the Oracle (Johnson) has a straight line to the future that he voices for the inquiring King. Keep your eyes on Johnson. He wears white boots with a platform sole at least three inches thick with classy, glassy heels. You have got to watch him as he surprises us with his jaw dropping splits, which drew gasps and wows from the audience.
The ensemble dancing was excellent with Taylor Colvill (wearing pink – far left) as the dance captain. Accolades to Kareyana Rose Aguon (wearing pink – beneath the hand of Anton Johnson). Although she was a full head shorter than two taller dancers, she held her own. Excellent dancing and singing are prerequisites for musicals and the cast did a great job. The band, Christopher Conway, Tim Nordstrom, Storm Tucker, Jesika Westbrook and
John Plinka, did a very nice job using the live music to set the pace. Everyone certainly got the beat.
As with most musicals, in the end everything works out. Erik Davis did a great job as the bashful shepherd how had to step up his game, pretend to be a woman while wooing his sweetheart.
The Design Team was excellent. The set was simple, the costumes were creatively colorful, the lighting was perfect and the sound came through nicely. Peg and, I along with our cousin Lindy and three grand-daughters, Alex, Bella and Sophia, sat next to the stage, only about twenty feet from the band. The kids behind us were their own cheering section. We could hear the actors without any problem and we really enjoyed the music and the set.
There were many things to like about this production. With the surprises, the music, the acting, and the action. This is the type of musical that just begs for a second of third visit during the run. My favorite scene? The Sheep Dance. We first saw Ton Williams in The Pirates of Penzance. We’ve enjoyed him in other productions at Lakewood Playhouse and CenterStage in Federal Way. He didn’t have a big part in Head Over Heels, but he gives his all to every performance. The Sheep Dance got the biggest laugh of the night . . . I don’t know if Ton was the head ewe or just part of the flock, but it was certainly hilarious. The whole production was full of surprises and enjoyment.
The show runs thru March 27th. For ticket information, please visit – lakewoodplayhouse.org/box-office1.html