The world of Arcadia is built on a BEAT — the gorgeous pop/rock rhythms of The Go-Go’s! The dynamic divas lent their songbook to Head Over Heels, making for a truly unique jukebox experience! Kyra Leigh, the music director of the Chicago premiere of Head Over Heels, tells us more…
Kyra, what’s the 411? Give us the hot goss!
I’m a freelance actor and musician originally from Shreveport, Louisiana but now living safely above the Mason-Dixon line. 😉 I am classically trained, but I’ve done pretty much every genre, and I try to stay active as a composer and writer as well (check out my CD, Transfigure: store.cdbaby.com/cd/kyraleigh ). It’s super fun for me to be on both sides of the equation whether it be in the caster on the creative team. I think it helps me have a more fully rounded understanding of the process.
Tell us more about the Head Over Heels band!
The band is awesome! We have the amazing Cesar Romero on guitar; the fabulous Corey Strode also on guitar; the fierce Chuck Evans on bass; and, the incredible Mark Linley on bass. I wanted the band to reflect the diversity and talent we have in the cast, and I’m so proud of us. We might just go on the road after this! 😉
How would you describe the sound of Head Over Heels?
It’s a total 80s explosion but with a modern twist! I wanted us to put our own original stank on it. 😉
Were you a Go-Go’s fan before working on the show?
HUGE Go-Go’s fan! When I was a director at School of Rock Chicago, I wanted to do a Go-Go’s vs Bangles show (which sadly never happened). So, getting to do this show is a dream come true.
Do you have a favorite song/part in the show?
I have two actually:The first is Our Lips Are Sealed because I love the way the song is used as an homage to coded language in the queer community. As a queer person who had to grow up doing that, I appreciate that the show honors that and how you can still find ways to be yourself even when society doesn’t let you. I find it extremely empowering.The second is Heaven Is A Place on Earth mostly just because I love that song. Also, that scene is awesome! Being a person past a certain age, it’s nice to see a couple displayed of a certain getting down and dirty! 😉 Bonus, during the dance break you can hear me playing a mashup of another popular 80s tune. Listen closely….
What makes Head Over Heels special?
So, as a composer of original music and theatre, I’ve never been the biggest fan of jukebox musicals. However, somehow this musical managed to really make the songs work within the narrative as if they were composed specifically for the show. I also love that the show takes so many disparate elements and combines them for the perfect show. If you told me you were going to take a classical play set to 80s tunes and queer it up, I would tell you you’re crazy, but somehow it works so perfectly and is so relevant to today. It’s the magic of Arcadia, I suppose. 😉
If an audience member loves HOH and The Go-Go’s, what other listens would you recommend?
Definitely listen to The Bangles for sure! If you want to go even more punky and girl power, check out Bikini Kill and Le Tigre.
There are only four more chances to see Head Over Heels — and to hear the pop-rock magic of The Go-Go’s fantastic score! Come see Kyra and the rest of our Arcadian rock stars this weekend at Theater Wit! A few tickets remain – get them HERE!