UPDATE with more information.
A party of sorts at downtown New York’s Bowery Ballroom was the occasion tonight for the announcement that Head Over Heels, a Broadway-bound musical comedy featuring 17 songs by ’80s rock band The Go-Go’s, has booked the Ambassador Theatre Group’s Hudson Theatre. It will follow the current tenant, Beau Willimon’s The Parisian Woman, which is nearing the end of its run starring Uma Thurman.
Watch Belinda Carlisle lead the group in the title song here.
As previously announced, the show will have its shake-out run at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre before coming into New York. It will begin performances April 10 in San Francisco, open on the 18th and continue through May 6. The Broadway run is slated to begin June 23, with an official opening on July 26.
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The announcement was made by members of the band (all five were on hand including, yes, the prodigal daughter Kathy Valentine) and the show’s director, Michael Mayer. A packed house that included the show’s producers and creative team (although no sign of co-producer Gwyneth “Goop” Paltrow; perhaps she was there incognito?) roared with affection as the five women, reunited after a long hiatus, tore through a set of songs, including the Broadway show’s title number. (No, they won’t be performing in the show–though judging from the energy, musicianship and tightness of the playing, they surely could.)
The musical is described as “a mash-up of posh and punk and an unpredictable, Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. In order to save their beloved kingdom, the family embarks on an extravagant journey wrought with mistaken identities, jealous lovers, sexual awakening, scandal and self-discovery, where everything (and everyone) is not quite what it seems. The show had its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was developed with the support of New York Stage and Film and Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater.
The Hudson booking is significant. It continues a trend of moving musicals into smaller theaters that typically house plays. The Curran seats nearly 1,700, which is approximately the same size as Broadway’s Minskoff, longtime home to Disney’s The Lion King. The Hudson, superbly restored and updated by Ambassador, seats 977, making it slightly smaller than the Walter Kerr, where Bruce Springsteen is performing through June. If Head Over Heels is a hit, producers hoping to bring in smaller-scale non-musicals to Broadway will find it harder than ever as the roster of playhouses continues to shrink.
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