BWW Interview: Joe Bailey Talks HEAD OVER HEELS at The Ringwald - The First Production Post-Broadway!
The Ringwald is absolutely thrilled to present the first production of Head Over Heels, running May 13th through June 10th, after its hot Broadway debut that features the songs of 80s music icons, The Go-Go's. The show was named one of Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Stage Picks of 2018 and recently closed this January to the heartache of beloved fans. "Head Over Heels combines The Go-Go's music with a gender-queer sensibility that everyone from 16-60+ will fall in love with," said Joe Bailey, the director. "It's energetic, funny, breezy and the perfect spring musical!" The hilarious and inclusive musical celebrates love in its infinite varieties and includes iconic Go-Go's hits like "We Got the Beat," "Our Lips Are Sealed," and "Vacation," plus Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven is a Place on Earth" and "Mad About You," and many more! The show is based on The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney and Head Over Heels was conceived by Jeff Whitty and adapted by James Magruder. A modern musical fairytale where once-upon-a-time is right now, Head Over Heels follows the escapades of a royal family who set out on a journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction only to find love and comedic complications along the way! BroadwayWorld Detroit spoke with Joe about directing Head Over Heels and why The Ringwald is so excited to be the first theatre to present the show since it closed on Broadway. Read our fun interview below!
BroadwayWorld Detroit: Can you give our readers a brief background of yourself and then your theatre career as an introduction?
Joe Bailey: I'm the artistic director of The Ringwald Theatre in Ferndale and we're about to close our 12th season with the post-Broadway premiere of Head Over Heels! I grew up in Michigan, but have lived and worked in Los Angeles and New York as well as toured across this great nation of ours.
How would you describe Head Over Heels in your own words?
First and foremost, Head Over Heels is a musical that uses songs from the great band The Go-Go's, but set in the 16th century. It tells the story of the kingdom of Arcadia that is in peril of losing its "beat." So, the citizens set out to try to preserve it. It's a fun, fast, gender-positive, body-positive romp that audiences won't be able to get enough of!
What was your introduction to show?
I knew of it when it played in San Francisco, pre-Broadway, and then was fortunate enough to see it before it closed in January.
What made you want to direct Head Over Heels?
I fell in love with it so much when I saw it. It fits perfectly with what we do at The Ringwald and I knew I wanted to share it with Detroit. It's so much fun and really turns the whole concept of princesses, first love, and curses on its head.
How does it feel to be the first theatre to do the production since the show left Broadway?
It's absolutely thrilling to be the first theatre to produce the show post-Broadway. There is a lot of worry and angst about getting it right, but we have a great cast and design team and everyone is working really hard to honor the show and the experience.
Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
My favorite moment seems to change almost nightly. Right now, there is a lovely song in Act 2 called "Here You Are" that breaks my heart every single time I watch it.
Describe Head Over Heels in five words.
Love. Laughs. Dancing. The Go-Go's!
What makes the Ringwald's interpretation of Head Over Heels unique?
We have such a great cast and design team who have been working to adapt the show to our space.
Can we expect a Ringwald twist?
The show fits so well into The Ringwald canon that no twist is required.
What would you say to someone with no prior knowledge of the show to get them to see the production?
I would say, "Do you like shows that make you smile really hard? Do you like shows that celebrate life and love in all shapes and sizes? Do you like to have fun? Then this show is for you!"
Do people have to be a Go-Go's fan to enjoy the show?
Absolutely not. Truth be told, I'm rather snooty when it comes to jukebox musicals, but I think the songs fit so well into the show, and I really like that the creators made something different with the show. It's very much like Mamma Mia in that respect - they crafted an original story around these songs. It's not the story of The Go-Go's like so many of these shows now (The Donna Summer Musical, The Cher Show, The Tina Turner Musical) where they have three actors playing the "star" at different stages of their life and trotting out all the hits to please the tourists.
Why should people come see the Ringwald's production of Head Over Heels?
They should see Head Over Heels because they will love it! And they will leave the theatre dancing!
Head Over Heels runs May 13th through June 10th at The Ringwald in Ferndale. For more information and tickets, call 248.545.5545 or visit www.TheRingwald.com.