BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL Announced At KSU
Kennesaw State University's Department of Theatre and Performance Studies will produce the acclaimed "Bring It On: The Musical," from November 7-17, 2019. Staged by Justin Anderson, one of Atlanta's most accomplished directors, this high-energy production focuses on the competitive world of cheerleading and one young woman's journey as she navigates life's challenges.
Originally created and performed by Atlanta's Alliance Theater in 2011, the original music is by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, lyrics are by Amanda Green and Miranda, and the book is by Jeff Whitty. "The piece is derived from an amalgamation of all the 'Bring It On' films and borrows from the variety of scripts. It celebrates athleticism and the legitimacy of cheerleading as a sport," says Anderson.
"Bring It On: The Musical" is a collaboration between the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies and KSU Athletic's award-winning cheerleading squad. Six KSU cheerleaders will take the stage including Gary Milloway, Ann-Dupree Goodsell, and Malik Warner. Performing alongside KSU's skilled musical theatre students, squad members build pyramids, perform lifts and execute other thrilling gymnastic feats. The production is proving to be a learning experience for all involved. Annaliese Bauer, who portrays the lead character Campbell, says, "The longest part of most of my lifts was the first time, getting the guts to just do it and trust my team has my back...I'm fortunate to have strong, confident cast members lifting me alongside the KSU cheerleaders, and of course they nail it every time."
Anderson and the creative team intentionally cast students who are at varying stages in their studies and experiences, providing opportunities to learn, teach, and grow. "We get to have a room full of people who are at different stages in their process, which is the best part about academic theatre," says Anderson. "You get to see the growth of students as they lean into developing their skills. I want them to be open to failing, to trying, to learning. That way, they are prepared to do so in the professional world."
Scheduling has been a challenge in this production: students are committing 20 or more hours per week to rehearse, on top of school, work, and life in general. "We make the most of who we have in the room at any given time," says Anderson. He feels that this rigorous experience "teaches them the importance of prioritizing and communicating, learning how to be flexible with an air of grace, and leaning into the opportunities presented, but learning to speak up when life gets in the way."
"From learning new styles of dance in short periods of time, to working on the stamina required for the show and playing Campbell's essence, it's all been stretching me as a performer," says Bauer of her experience so far in the production. "I've had over a decade of dance experience, but you're definitely going to see more unique style in this performance that took some work and time to commit to muscle memory and execute confidently."
There are strong ambitions for this production to generate a large and wide audience over the course of its run. "This is not typical of the academic echelon of theatre," says Anderson. "The piece is very contemporary and of our time. The title is extremely magnetic and generates curiosity about the show; it is attractive to a larger potential audience."
"I think one of the most exciting parts," says Bauer, "has been putting life into our onstage characters after we learned all the choreography and blocking. We are getting to see this show become our own, unique to KSU, unique to this moment."
Don't miss "Bring It On: The Musical" at Kennesaw State University, November 7-17, 2019 at the Stillwell Theater on the Kennesaw campus. To buy tickets, please visit ticketing.kennesaw.edu.