Choreographer Evor Wright works with the cast of Uptown Players’ ‘Head Over Heels’ based on music by ‘80s band The Go-Go’s. (Courtesy photo).
Choreographer has got the beat for Uptown Players’ ‘Head Over Heels’
RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer
Uptown Players doesn’t have its lips sealed about its season opener. In fact, the company has been waiting patiently to bring Head Over Heels to the stage. Originally planned prior to the pandemic, the musical based on songs by ’80s pop punk band The Go-Gos is back from “Vacation” to bring all the retro glory against its 16th century setting.
To get all the moves down for a cast in period clothing and dance heavy numbers, Evor Wright may have their work cut out for them. But days before opening night, Wright is sure the cast (which they are a part of) is ready to “Get Up and Go.”
(Editor’s Note: That should be the last of Go-Go’s song puns.)
“We are ready to share this show and story with an audience,” Wright said by phone. “It’s been a really great process that’s gone smoothly.”
A longtime choreographer for Uptown Players, Wright’s work was last seen in this past summer production of Kinky Boots. For Head Over Heels, they had the challenge of connecting Elizabethan times to New Wave through choreography. The show had been choreographed on Broadway by Spencer Liff, but Wright had the opportunity to — literally — put their own spin on it.
“I did research on that show and Liff’s inspirations. There were these vogue styles against these Renaissance paintings.
I used all those references,” they said. “In the show, there’s baroque and ballet along with voguing and tutting and jazz.”
Wright’s background is in contemporary dance and their familiarity with all those styles gave them the access needed to apply a variety of dance languages. They added that dance is a huge part of this show. It’s almost its own character, they said.
The 36 year-old has a long relationship with Uptown Players, and, despite their long commute, when the call comes from Uptown they show up. For Wright, the theater company has become a special place.
“Evor first danced on the Uptown Players stage as a Cagelle in 2017. Since then, they have developed into an excellent choreographer with all musical theater dance styles,” Uptown Players co-founder and co-producer Jeff Rane said in an email. “Although they now live in Los Angeles, we are thrilled when they can return to Dallas and choreograph our big musicals or Broadway Our Way.”
Other shows Wright has worked on include Disaster the Musical and The View Upstairs regional premiere.
“I think this is my sixth or seventh show to choreograph. As a queer person myself, I have gotten to play queer people in the shows, drag queens, people who are like me, and I get to tell those stories that are close to home,” they said.
Theater can often be seen as a haven for queer people, but Wright’s experience wasn’t always so before Uptown.
“Those gender norms and binary language are very prevalent and in some ways, Head Over Heels is kind of about that,” they said.
Wright sees a very queer journey in the musical.
“It’s about people learning they can change their way of thinking with all this strong female energy,” they said. “And choosing your own journey is what being queer is.”
For tickets, visit UptownPlayers.org.