When news broke that a musical using the tunes of groundbreaking pop-punk group The Go-Go's would be coming to Broadway, most fans assumed the show would tell the story of the fierce fivesome's unlikely rise to pop stardom. But that show, Head Over Heels (open now at the Hudson Theatre), turned out to be anything but a typical jukebox musical: it uses The Go-Go's catalog as the score for an unorthodox tale of two princesses and their quests to find independence and love.
"It's tongue-in-cheek, but we never go into camp," says actor Andrew Durand, who plays the hapless Musidorus, a shepherd vying for one of the princesses' affections. "I think that's what makes it so charming." Durand, along with stars Bonnie Milligan (Pamela) and Alexandra Socha (Philoclea) stopped by for this week's episode of Billboard on Broadway podcast to chat about what makes Head Over Heels such a refreshing production, and why The Go-Go's provide the perfect songs.
"Their lyrics lend themselves to storytelling so well," Socha says, noting that hits like "Vacation" may sound sunny and fun but, upon closer listens, have greater depth. The band's cheerily rebellious spirit also melds well with the musical's forward-thinking bent. "It's always been progressive," Milligan says of the show, noting that in its earliest incarnations Head Over Heels dealt with subjects like gender fluidity and marriage equality. "A lot of our superfans are kids that identify as they/them and non-binary, and this is the first time they've had a story in the mainstream of entertainment speaking for them," Durand adds (Drag Race alum and Head Over Heels cast member Peppermint is the first transgender woman to originate a lead role on Broadway). "We have a story that families can come to together and learn together."