Gwyneth Paltrow is go-going to Broadway, as the co-producer of a new musical based on the songs of new wave girl group The Go-Go’s.
The band, fronted by Belinda Carlisle, had hits including Our Lips Are Sealed and We Got The Beat in the early 1980s.
Although they were known as one of the most debauched bands of the time, the musical will not focus on their story.
Instead, Head Over Heels pairs their hits with a romance based on Sir Philip Sidney’s 16th Century work Arcadia.
The story has been adapted for the stage by Jeff Whitty, who wrote the book for Avenue Q – the bawdy, puppet-based show that won a Tony Award for best musical in 2004.
The new show tells the tale of Basilius, the Duke of Arcadia, who flees after an Oracle tells him his two daughters’ love lives will be beset by disaster.
A statement on The Go-Go’s website described it as “a tantalising odyssey wrought with mistaken identities, jealous lovers, romance and scandal”.
An early version of the show premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2015, to middling reviews.
New York Times critic Charles Isherwood was particularly critical of the music, saying The Go-Go’s songs often felt “incidental or just there because the audience would want to hear them”.
California’s Siskiyou Daily was more positive, calling the production “original, audacious, and fiercely funny” while admitting the script needed work.
A revised version of the show will premiere in San Francisco in April, prior to a move to Broadway for the 2018-19 season.
It marks Paltrow’s first production on Broadway. The Shakespeare In Love actress grew up in Los Angeles in the 1970s, around the same time The Go-Go’s became a must-see live act.
Born out of the punk scene, the band faced sexism as they tried to get a recording contract – but were eventually signed by The Police’s manager Miles Copeland when he set up his own label, IRS Records.
The band’s debut album Beauty and the Beat went on to become the first (and to this day, only) US number one entirely written and played by women.
But drug abuse and personality clashes forced the band to split in 1985. Carlisle went on to become an international pop star, with hits including Circle In The Sand, Mad About You and Heaven Is A Place On Earth – some of which also feature in Head Over Heels.
“If you told us 30 years ago that our songs were going to be in a musical, we’d have said, ‘Of course they’ll be on Broadway!'” The Go-Gos said in a statement. “None of us would have really believed it, though.”
The show will be directed by Michael Mayer, who previously helmed Green Day’s American Idiot musical.