Manchester born producer Liam Gartland talks about UK premiere of musical comedy Head Over Heels

Liam Gartland is a Manchester born producer who recently had a hit with the musical Lift! In London
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He returns to Manchester to stage the UK premiere of Head Over Heels, a musical comedy which features the back catalogue of The Go Gos. The show had a Broadway run, and the band themselves have been touring together again, following a break to pursue solo careers.

The musical runs at the Hope Mill Theatre later this month and features several cast members from their much loved production of Jonathan Larson’s Rent, including Luke Bayer and Maiya Quansah Breed.

We caught up with Liam during rehearsals to find out more.

What attracted you to working on this musical? 

Head Over Heels is a musical that celebrates queer experiences, questions the patriarchy and has songs by the Go Go’s, these standout reasons were the pulling force towards producing this show and the exact reason why many audience members will hopefully buy a ticket.

Finding a cast, creative team and venue that could bring this production to life and begin the journey in the UK really excited me. As a producer in the early part of my career I challenge myself to find titles that will give audiences the same experience in a 140 seater as they would in a 3,000 seater venue and this musical could do that exact thing.

What do you like about the Go Go’s music? 

The Go Go’s music is much more than what’s written on the page, it’s the overall celebration of the group being the most successful female rock band of all time.

I think I’m gaining so much joy producing a musical that includes some of the greatest songs written in the 80’s such as “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Mad About You.” alongside a story that has many important messages to society in 2023.

How does it feel bringing the show to Manchester?

I was born and raised in Manchester and the Hope Mill Theatre was one of the first places I went to to watch musicals that I wouldn’t haven’t seen at the larger commercial theatres. Watching Joe Houston and Will Whelton build a 140 seat  theatre in Manchester that has the facilities to programme huge titles made me even more excited to produce there.

When looking for the perfect venue to premiere Head Over Heels I knew that there was no better place than the Hope Mill.

What do you like about Manchester? 

Manchester is a great city and as a child I was very lucky to have Manchester on my doorstep. The depth of cultural activities it has for all ages to me seems like it is healthy competition for London.

What would you change about the city? 

There isn’t anything huge I would change about the city, I think Manchester has so much to offer. If I had one thing I would like more of, it would be to introduce more people to theatre or even get more people to come to the theatre.

The theatrical experience is not like many others and until you have had the opportunity to watch a play, musical or concert I don’t think you will ever understand the fulfilment it brings.

Lastly if someone does not know who the Go Go’s are, how would you describe the show and persuade them to see it? 

Head Over Heels is a laugh-out-loud love story that celebrates queerness. It’s full of songs, that once you hear them, they will be on repeat for a long time. It’s a show that delivers important messages in a joyful way and most importantly it’s a great night out!

Head Over Heels is at the Hope Mill Theatre from 26th January – 4th March and can be booked here.

hopemilltheatre.co.uk/event/head-over-heels/

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