Department of Music hopes to deliver a live performance of The Go-Go’s jukebox musical to students on campus

By Megan Loock

Elm Staff Writer

On Feb. 1, the spring semester began with some students flocking back to Chestertown to learn from their dorm rooms. Despite classes still being taught online, the students took this as a chance to live a semi-normal college experience, which includes the chance to participate in some extracurricular activities such as the Music Department’s annual spring musical. 

This spring the Department of Music will put on the musical “Head Over Heels.” 

“Head Over Heels” is a jukebox musical featuring music by the 1978 band The Go-Go’s, including well-known songs such as “We Got The Beat” and “Vacation.” 

Jukebox musicals are original stage musicals that feature songs that are not original to the musical, play, or film. The songs that are integrated in the plot are usually hit songs by a popular artist or specific genre. 

Last spring, the Department of Music put on a production of “The Who’s Tommy” another jukebox musical. It was adapted from the 1969 rock opera album “Tommy” by The Who, according to Rolling Stone

Even though both shows are jukebox musicals, they are far from similar. 

According to Assistant Director and senior Will Rotsch with the musical “Tommy,” there was no dialogue, but “Head Over Heels,” has “a very good mix [of dialogue and music]  but the dialogue is much harder.”

This is due to the fact that the musical is set during “Shakespearean times,” and therefore features Shakespearean-esque dialogue, according to Rotsch.  

“Head Over Heels” was adapted into Broadway as a “raucous musical” from Sir Phillip Sidney’s novel The Princess Pembroke’s Arcadia, according to the New York Theatre Guide.

“Head Over Heels follows the escapades of a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction—only to discover the key to their realm’s survival lies within each of their own hearts,” according to Broadway Licensing.  

The show will also feature the inclusion of LGBTQ+ relationships and a non-binary main character. 

“Inclusion is a big part of the show,” Rotsch said. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all rehearsals are currently online. However, freshman Niko Chen hopes to be able to attend in-person rehearsals after spring break, to prepare for an aspiring in-person performance. 

As of right now, “Head Over Heels” is the only production that is hoping to return to in-person performances. 

The Department of Theatre and Dance’s productions of “Riders to the Sea,” “Eurydice,” and “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” will either be virtual performances or showcase the design work done for the show.

However, some students are using this online platform to overcome their own insecurities.

“Before I got to college, I was not a theatre kid at all so this is very new,” said Chen. 

Chen is a part of the ensemble. This is their second production at Washington College, but their first musical. 

“It is a lot easier for me to do a performance online because I’m an introvert, so you do not have to see all of the people [in the audience],” said Chen. “You can pretend they don’t exist.”

Despite this, Chen is planning to take part in future productions.

The musical is set to debut in late April. As of right now, the Department of Music is optimistic to hold an in-person performance. 

If that were to happen, a stage would be set up outside. Masks are going to be made part of the costumes by costume designer and sophomore Lexi Meola. 

Even though there is hope to perform outside, there will be a streaming component for an off-campus audience. As of right now, the students who will be living on campus will be able to attend the in-person performance. 

If an in-person performance is not possible, the department still plans to do the show virtually. 

For more information about the productions within the Department of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance, you can visit their page on Washington College website. https://www.washcoll.edu/academic_departments/music/old-index.php

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