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'Bring It On: The Musical' has people cheering

November 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Once upon a time, to make it in musical theatre you had to be a great singer. Then they upped the ante and performers not only had to be able to sing, they also had to know how to dance.

Now, the new musical "Bring It On" takes everything to a whole new level, finding singers who know how to dance and cheer.

"Bring It On: The Musical" was inspired by the 2000 movie of the same name. But what you see live on stage is very different and downright jaw-dropping.

Finding 33 cast members who can literally do it all was the producer's first challenge.

"The truth is there's never been a show like this because we've got a cast who not only has to sing and dance on a Broadway caliber level but they have to tumble, and cheer, and hurl themselves into the air," said executive producer Mike Isaacson. "So part of in figuring out 'Bring It On: The Musical' was how do we create a new vocabulary of dance and movement and cheer that's never been done before, and then how do we fit that into a story."

Isaacson and his team saw more than 3,000 young people during the "Bring It On" casting process.

"Basically it was like an athletic team, we went out and recruited," he said of the process.

They worked with the national cheerleading organization Varsity to help find the most talented team. The show took a year to develop, rehearse and get everyone ready to perform.

"The huge accomplishment of the show is by the end of the show the audience doesn't know which were the cheerleaders and which were the dancers, I mean, because everyone had to learn what everybody else did," said Isaacson.

He says the fact the show features a relatively young cast has helped draw novice theatre-goers into the auditorium.

"A lot of times this is first time they're coming to the theater. The first time they'll ever see anything on a stage is 'Bring It On: The Musical' and the power, and their jaws dropping, and they see this whole world of possibility not only for what's on stage but who they are. So it's really... as a producer it's very moving, very moving," said Issacson.

"Bring It On: The Musical" plays at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles through December 10. It then takes off on a 13-city nationwide tour.


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