Head Over Heels

If you’re me, then when you think of The Go-Gos, you might confuse them with a band like Bananarama. Or you might confuse the three female-led New Wave songs that you know and think that only one band ever produced that type of music and that thinking that proves that one is an ignorant dolt. I’m so well aware of The Go-Gos and their mythology, their discography, their band members that I totally didn’t have to look up the actual spelling of how the band declares themselves. Does the plot of this play even matter? It might to someone but am I going to share it? I make a vague reference or two regarding it. Something about the 16th century, something about prophecies that if aren’t blocked will lead to the destruction of the world, basically anything you could find in your typical Shakespearean fare. Where the play imbues its own sense of originality is in the gender-bending, the lesbian relationships, the first trans actress on Broadway in a leading role (even if Peppermint was not present for my performance), and just the total inclusion of LGBTQ+ culture. Plus, it’s just nice to see a show where you leave and you walk out happy. Did it help to go with another person? It did. I learned my lesson from seeing the Wavery Gallery just a couple of days beforehand. Except comparing a musical where a character dons the dress of a woman in order to seduce the daughter of a king, while also being pursued romantically by the King and Queen, can’t really be compared to the experience of watching a family’s matriarch wither away. My point is, regardless of the company, I would’ve had a much better experience anyway just due to the content overall, and yet I do want to shout out my fellow theater companions who inspired me to write this blog as I noticed the look on their face as I drolled on about my thoughts on how to incorporate an artist’s songs into an original play. I mean, obviously what I’m saying is that they had such sheer delight and glee upon their face that I wanted to write this to share my beautiful thoughts with the world and I’m totally not saying that their disdain for my monologue led me to shut up my intricate thoughts about 60 seconds in.

What are those thoughts you ask? Oh, dear reader, I knew you would ask, just like my theater companions always do. Listen, as I already said, I do not know much about The Go-Go’s discography. Until the day of the musical, I didn’t know that they were the first or only all-female band to play all their own instruments and write all their own songs. Prior to the day before the show, I didn’t even know The Go-Gos had a musical based off their songs nor did I have any idea why they put it in a medieval setting. Then to transform those songs into like pro LGBTQ+ representation ballads and love songs and war cries? I just don’t know how they did it! And I still don’t know how they did it, and I never will know how they did done it. I do think that my ignorance of the music of The Go-Gos could have something to do with some of my incredulous thoughts revolving around how you could throw plot around their college of songs. Since they were at their apex in the late 70s and early 80s, and they were an all-female group, it’s probably reasonable to assume that they were a bit more inclusive and open-minded than your typical pop fare. Plus, I don’t think the plot itself and how it connects to the music is what impressed me. No, it is. But I guess what I’m trying to say is more how any coherent narrative structure could be constructed around songs without making them feel shoehorned in. I say this because all of the songs included in the musical do feel very organic and even more so without my knowledge of The Go-Gos so I didn’t have a familiarity with the songs and I just felt they really worked with the show. There were high energy pieces, there were love song duets, there were individual showcase solos, and none of it felt like it had no place in the musical. As a musical writer myself, a person who’s talked about writing one for the last few years and hasn’t written down a single word, I’m just amazed by the composition of the musical. How does one determine that this song by the all-female band become a solo for the King? How do you decide that this song will be turned into a duet for lesbian lovers? It just seems almost more impressive that you can mold these songs into fitting the story you have and it’s not like you can just change the lyrics, or invent new ones.

One of the reasons I typically don’t edit these posts too much is that I don’t like to read over my incoherent ramblings because I’d regret everything that I managed to say. I’m not entirely sure if what I was trying to say in the last paragraph made a lot of sense, but I stand by my words. I’m just trying to say that I enjoyed the show a lot, that I don’t feel like the LGBTQ+ elements were an awkward addition but they fit naturally and it wasn’t just there for the play to proclaim itself as “woke.” I left the musical both inspired to continue writing my magnum opus and also wishing to hear more of The Go-Gos back catalog. Did I have a lot of thoughts about the show when I walked out? I did. Would it maybe have made a bit more sense to have written them down sooner than 10 days later? It would have. Listen, until the NYTimes starts paying me the salary that I deserve (or I’ll accept you New York Post) then not everything is going to be posted completely on time. I’m trying to get better though and I realize I objectively wrote less about the show that I enjoyed more compared to the former post. I don’t care though, because dammit, until you start paying for my tickets random free daily newspaper on NYC streets then I’ll do whatever the hell I want and you’ll enjoy it. Or you just won’t read it and I’ll continue to beg for your validation. So it goes.

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