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KU Theatre to bring a ‘wild ride’ to the stage with musical this weekend

The University of Kansas Department of Theatre and Dance has got the beat, and students are excited to share it.

“Head Over Heels” is based on the 16th-century story “The Arcadia,” by Sir Philip Sidney — set to the music of The Go-Go’s.

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The jukebox musical is guest-directed and choreographed by Nakeisha Daniel, a freelance director, actor, choreographer and assistant professor of African American theatre and performance at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, according to a news release from KU.

Courtesy of KU Theatre Nakeisha Daniel

“This progressive love story is a delightful blend of heightened language with ’80s pop,” Daniel said in the release. “The cast is fantastic, and the design team did an incredible job creating a world of wonder. I hope the audience rocks out in their seats.”

Daniel said she hopes the show opens the door for audience members to reflect on who they are and stay open to new ideas. Songs include “We Got the Beat,” “Vacation,” “Our Lips are Sealed” and the title song, “Head Over Heels,” among others.

The creative team includes Ryan McCall, lecturer and musical director/accompanist for the Department of Theatre & Dance, as the musical director; MFA student Lindsay Webster as scenic designer; MFA student John Dylon Rohr as costume designer. The cast includes Jake Gillespie, a guest artist and recent KU graduate from Lawrence, as Basilius. See the full creative team and cast list at this link.

The show was conceived and written by Jeff Whitty and adapted by James Magruder, according to the release.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 24 and 31 in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre at Murphy Hall, 1530 Naismith Drive.

Tickets are available online at this link, at the box office, or by calling 785-864-3982. They’re $25 for adults, $10 for kids, $20 for KU faculty/staff and seniors, and $10 for KU students if purchased in advance, $15 otherwise.

“Just come ready to dance and have a good time and go on a really wild ride,” Daniel said in an interview snippet from KU Theatre. Watch below.

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