Cheer with Bring it On
July 19, 2016,
Bailee Endebrock and Ta’Meia Burleigh are Campbell and Danielle in the MSP/CCA ASHSTP production of “Bring It On."
McLeod Summer Playhouse wraps its 2016 season with “Bring It On,” the sassy Broadway-pop, hip-hop cheerleading musical July 28-31 at the McLeod Theater. The production features the best of the area’s high-school talent and is an annual collaboration with Carbondale Community Arts under the title All Southern High School Theater Project.
Based on the movie of the same name, “Bring It On” tells the story of a high school cheerleading-squad captain who is redistricted from a privileged to a hard-knock high school. There she must learn to fit in, make friends with the school dance crew, and form a powerhouse cheer team to compete against her former squad in the National Championships.
The show was written by an all-star team with book by Tony Award winner Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q), music by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winners Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal”) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In The Heights” “Hamilton”) and lyrics by Miranda and Amanda Green (“Hands on a Hardbody”). The show premiered at Alliance Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, in January 2011, and launched a National tour culminating in a limited engagement Broadway run in 2012.
The stars of this production are the great local talent. Working on attaining legendary status is Bailee Endebrock who plays Campbell the cheerleader transplanted to a new high school. She has appeared in numerous area productions including MSP's "The Sound of Music" and the ASHSTP production of "Legally Blonde." Also redistricted is her side-kick Bridget played by Alexis Jones. Ta’Meia Burleigh plays Danielle, the leader of the dance crew at the new high school. She is flanked by bffs Nautica and transgendered La Cienega played by Jasmine Humphrey and Aaron Elliot. At the old high school, Skylar and Kylar, former squad teammates, are played by Alexa Boese and Kaity HixSon, and the mastermind of the plot to take over Campbell’s captain position is Eva, played by Charli Elliot. MSP fans may remember the name, but likely won’t recognize this young star. She played the title role in the MSP 2013 hit production of “Annie.”
High school girls often have romantic interests; these characters do. Campbell’s high school puppy-dog boyfriend Steven is played by Graham Gordon. Bennett Speith plays the cool school DJ, Randall, who wins the reinvented cheerleader’s affection. Andre Collins plays hip-hopper Twig who hopes to become "onesies" with side-kick, Bridget, and Antonio Collins plays Cameron, Danielle’s steady squeeze.
The ensemble members comprise the rival cheer teams. They are Hasanah Brown, Kellyn Daly, Molly Donahue, Kyah Franks, Danielle Furtak, Emily Jabr, Garrett James, Lily Jones, Illyana Lipe, Anna Madura, Kylie Measmier, Ricky Pierce, Aliegha Ramos, Janey Robbins, Keagan Schlosser, Samara Steinbeck, and Hannah Sullivan.
The talented high school cast works with the professional MSP staff. The show is directed and choreographed by Wes Drummond, the resident artistic director of the Playhouse. It features sets and lighting designed by Mark Varns and costumes by Lauren Josef. Brandyn McGhee designs sound and Kevin Smith is musical director.
“Bring It On” plays only four performances, July 28-31, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the McLeod Theater on the SIU campus. Tickets to the production are $20 for adults, $10 for students with a special ticket price for children of $8. You can get tickets in person Monday-Friday noon-4:30 hours at the McLeod Theater or 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the SIU Arena Box office, by phone at 618/453-6000 during those hours, or online at playhouse.siu.edu. Some fees for online or by phone orders apply.
Is the show family friendly? Broadway.com says “You bet your pom-poms it is!” With diverse characters, witty dialogue and a “be yourself” theme, “Bring It On” is a musical “the whole family will flip for.”