Thursday, June 18, 2015

Go-Go's Stage Musical 'Head Over Heels' Premieres at Oregon Shakespeare Festival

From left: Jane, Wiedlin, Kathy Valentine, Charlotte Caffey and Gina Schock; I think Belinda Carlisle was in Iowa for Des Moines Gay Pride

My pal Kathy Valentine shared this from the world premiere of the "Head Over Heels" musical, which features a book by Tony Award winner Jeff Whitty ("Avenue Q," "Bring It On," "Tales of the City") and the music of the Go-Go's. The show -- which the Ashland Daily Tidings says is "equal parts Elizabethan comedy and psychedelic rock concert [that] works in spite of rough patches" -- is based on Philip Sidney's "Arcadia" and was staged as part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2015 season. It's the first time Kathy's seen her former bandmates since they unceremoniously booted her from the band and all I can say is she is one cool chick and the definition of a class act.
Last Saturday I attended the opening of the musical "Head Over Heels." It was wildly awesome to hear music I either co-wrote, performed, recorded or played over the decades presented in this new format. I think the musical has great potential to be successful, but I'm the last to know about such things. All of the arrangements were great, done by a woman--which is perfect! Her name is Carmel Dean. The whole team behind this production is stellar, from choreography to the costumes, and of course the playwright Jeff Whitty. It has everything going for it. Some of the standout songs were deeper cuts from our catalog which is very cool--Automatic Rainy Day, Vision of Nowness, and Beautiful were all perfection. Hearing the melodies sung by theatrically trained voices was a highlight. I also liked the mashup of Insincere and Unforgiven. To me, a few songs didn't seem like they belonged and kind of stuck out, but I'm assuming that it's still kind of a work in progress. 
As for seeing the old bandmates, I welcomed the closure. It felt very unresolved--you all may not know this, but the last time I saw these women was Sept 25, 2012 when I was "invited" to play on one song on their Austin tour stop. They departed the stage and left the venue without a word and it was clear that my days were numbered. The rest is well documented--several months later I was notified that they no longer wanted me in the band. From there, the situation went from bad to worse as I had to make a legal claim. That dragged on as those things do, and I put the whole thing in a box and stuck it up on a shelf and got on with my life. 
To see them again, close to 3 years after that last encounter, gave me the chance to have a little face time in a context that was celebratory and positive. In my opinion, there is no denying that we created and held on to something very special for a long time--and none of it--the albums, hits, tours, and now, the musical, could have happened without all five of us. There was very little interaction between us and it didn't feel like grudges were being hauled around but who knows what's really going on in people's heads and hearts?!? Anyway, I think it was a good prelude to what I hope is one day in our future--at the Rock n Roll HOF! Until then, I'm wildly in love with my kid, my band, my writing and studies, and very grateful for the continued support and interest from people who follow what I create and do. much love to you all xoxoKV


Blobby said...

It's still a shame how Valentine was treated. And while I probably would never see the musical in any form, that they include "Vision of Nowness" and "Automatic Rainy Day" is totally awesome. They actually might be my two favorite songs from the band.

dishy said...

Wow that was beautifully written. Why DID they kick her out??