The Charger Blog

University’s Theater Program Returns with ‘Head Over Heels’

A musical featuring songs by The Go-Go’s, "Head Over Heels" is based on a 16th century pastoral romance by Sir Philip Sidney. The curtain comes up for the first time in 18 months Wednesday through Saturday, November 10 to 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Bucknall Theater in Dodds Hall.

November 9, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Head Over Heels artwork: a hand-drawn shield with a crown, heart, and flag.

Rose Butala ’22 has taken on a variety of roles as part of her involvement with the University’s Theater Program. This week, she is excited to take on the role of a queen.

Rose Butala ’22
Rose Butala ’22.

A forensic science major, Butala will step onto the stage as Gynecia, a queen she describes as “strong hearted” and who “wants respect and to be listened to.” Butala is excited play her part in the University’s production of “Head Over Heels.”

“Gynecia adores her children and wants what’s best for herself and others,” Butala explains. “I have enjoyed learning the musical numbers and watching how the story comes together. Seeing everyone really sync into their characters has been the best part.”

A contemporary adaptation of The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, a well-known 16th century pastoral romance by Sir Philip Sidney, Head over Heels is a musical featuring songs by 1980s pop band The Go-Go’s.

The musical follows King Basilius and his family and subjects as they journey to Bohemia in an attempt to escape the Oracle’s four prophecies that will bring doom to Arcadia. Their perilous journey leads to self-discovery and the promise of a bright future.

Head Over Heels artwork: a hand-drawn shield with a crown, heart, and flag.
Poster by Theo Kissel.

The production marks the Theater Program’s first in-person performance since March of 2020. The curtain comes up Wednesday through Saturday, November 10 to 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Bucknall Theater in Dodds Hall. Tickets can be purchased online. All attendees must wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status. Members of the University community must also display their CoVerified cleared badge upon entry. All non-University guests must show proof of being fully vaccinated or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or viral antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival on campus.

“The musical is a buoyant, playful work that celebrates the power of being true to oneself,” said Margaret Savilonis, Ph.D., co-coordinator of the University’s Theater Program and the show’s director. “The play touches on many subjects, but right now, for me, it’s a message about the importance of really listening to one another. It’s about evolving instead of doing things one way merely because it’s the way they’ve always been done, which resonates strongly for me. We’re glad to finally be able to bring it to life.”

‘It underscores how important it is to stay true to yourself’

Following the performance on Thursday, November 11, the University will host a conversation featuring Ian Shick, assistant director of LGBTQ+ resources for the University’s Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and Dolores Dégagé Hopkins, a member of the New Haven Pride Center’s board of directors. Sydney Guye ’19, who is pursuing her MFA in dramaturgy at Columbia University, will facilitate the discussion.

“We are looking forward to a full return to live programming, especially as it relates to our program’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and our practice of public scholarship,” said Dr. Savilonis. “Through this, creative activity joins serious intellectual endeavor with a commitment to public practice and public consequence.”

A production photo from “Cabaret.”
Rose Butala ’22 played Frenchie in the University’s production of “Cabaret.”

Butala, who was also a cast member in the University’s production of “The Wolves” in 2019 and in “Cabaret” in 2018, says “Head Over Heels” has important lessons that are relevant to everyone. She hopes the audience will also enjoy it.

“Members of the University community should come see ‘Head Over Heels’ because it tells a story about how different types of people can undergo a change in themselves,” she said. “It underscores how important it is to stay true to yourself. We have all worked really hard to put it together!”