Adrienne Warren and Taylor Louderman are currently making their Broadway debuts in BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL, which began previews on July 12th at the St. James Theatre. The team behind the production includes a collaboration of some of Broadway's most acclaimed, award-winning creators. With an original book by Tony Award winner Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q), music and lyrics by Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), music by Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and lyrics by Broadway lyricist Amanda Green (High Fidelity), this new musical is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler (In the Heights). BRING IT ON tells the story of the challenges and unexpected bonds that form through the thrill of extreme cheerleading competition.
The talented actresses chatted with BWW about how they manage to sing, dance, act and perform high-flying acrobatic stunts in this new, exciting Broadway production.
Adrienne Warren originated the role of 'Bring It On's 'Danielle' at Atlanta's ALLIANCE THEATRE followed by the national tour. Her theater credits include Lorrell in Dreamgirls (NAACP Theatre Award nominee, Apollo/U.S. tour) and The Wiz (Encores!). Her EP is currently available on iTunes.
I have to start by asking how you are able to pull off your role so well while at the same time, execute what appear to be rather dangerous stunts.
Well, lots of practice for one! I think in this cast we have such a camaraderie, we're such a team and you really have to trust your castmates and know that no matter what, everyone is aware of each other. Safety is first with our company, and just knowing that they have you, no matter what - even if you fall, someone is going to catch you. In fact, when someone is doing a move we have a rule, if you see someone coming down, even if they're across the stage, you have permission to run and catch them. So knowing that feels good and you always feel confident that when you're in the air you're going to be okay.
Did it take time to develop that trust?
Yeah, it did. I remember a couple of years ago when we first started in the workshop and we were kind of just learning how to do cheer stunts, I was petrified. I had just met these people and I was standing on their hands, and I was nervous. But after the years have gone by and after watching the professional cheerleaders in our cast, that is one of the best ways to learn how to do cheerleading and be confident in it. They are some of the best teachers I've every had. So I think that's really a plus for this show.
Were the competitive cheerleaders involved at all in the choreography?
They weren't involved in the choreography, but we do have a cheer coordinator and they were there to help us learn the techniques. Because they have been doing this for years and it's something that you can't really learn in one trial. You can do it in one trial, but to really be confident in it, they give you the little tips and tricks here and there that will help you stay confident and solid.
Were you a cheerleader or a gymnast in high school?
I played basketball and I ran track in high school, and my dad is an ex-football player and he never let me try out for cheering. I had lots of friends who were cheerleaders.
Did you have an opinion of the cheerleaders?
You know, a lot of the cheerleaders were my friends. Until being in BRING IT ON, I never thought cheerleading was really a sport. I never paid much attention to it. And my dad always joked and said, 'Don't try out for cheerleading. You can't go to the Olympics with it.' And now, I think there is an Olympics cheering or they're working on it. There's so many things that I think the public is unaware of that goes along with cheerleading. Before I got to this show, I used to joke around with my cheerleading friends in high school and say, 'Oh cheerleading is not a sport, you guys just get to look cute in the skirt.' And they used to actually put their cheerleading skirts on me because I was so anti-cheerleading. They would laugh and joke and try to teach me things, and I would look ridiculous. So now all my friends are kind of laughing because it's just ironic that me, the girls who was totally anti-cheerleading, is now in a cheerleading musical, doing stunts that they never even learned to do. And now I go to my dad and say, "See, cheerleading is a sport, look at all these saddle wounds!"