Bring On the Talent

The fun filled production that appeared in Millard West’s auditorium


Senior Kaylee Hallgren (right) plays cheer captain, Campbell.

Michelle Zhang, Staff Writer

The Millard West Drama department introduced a musical, Bring It On, hitting the stage with cheer stunts, competition and drama. In this production, Truman High School’s cheer captain Campbell is transferred to a “ghetto’ school, Jackson High. After being ripped away from her life, she brings together a dance crew to create a new cheer squad. Competing against her former school for a spot at nationals, Campbell works to take down the opposing team while creating bonds with people she would have judged before meeting.

In the show, there were over 100 cast and crew members introduced this musical to people all around on December 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th. Auditions for the musical were held in September, and the cast began learning scripts and music in October. When second semester came around, students began rehearsing countless hours to perfect stunts and to get lines down.

Students in the cast faced a new challenge when putting together the show. To fulfill the cheer element in Bring It On, musical director Brooke Phillips held auditions in a different manner.

“Students had to sing a song and do a scene and because the show has a cheer element, we also brought out some tumbling mats,” Phillips said “At the end of auditions we just told people that they were invited to do a tumbling pass or whatever they could do.”

Students who made cast still faced the challenge of learning new cheer stunts like basket tosses, human jump ropes and more  in order to ensure the safety and perfection of each performance.

Senior Kaylee Hallgren, actress for Campbell, helped the cast bring together the cheer element that would keep audiences at the edges of their seats.

“The only real challenge for the stunt was that there were only three of us who had stunted before,” Hallgren said. “We didn’t hire a coach so us three basically had to teach everyone else how to stunt.”

With Hallgren’s cheer background, she flew through rehearsals with ease while helping other cast members with their techniques. Other factors also played into Hallgren’s preparation for her lead performances.

“Show choir has helped me with being able to sing along with the physicality of the show,” Hallgren said. With show choir and a cheer background, Hallgren was able to sing without flaw during her stunts.

The cast also learned dances and songs to embody the positive spirit that each of the songs had. These dances  had many students come out of their comfort zones. For senior Brannon Evans, this helped her come out of her comfort zone. Evans plays the role of Danielle, the leader of Jackson High’s dance crew.

“Usually people see me as the really awkward funny person,” Evans said. “So to play a confident really good dancer is fun.”

Because this is her last year participating in the theatre department, Evans worked non stop, earning herself a lead role in the musical.

“This is my last musical and I wanted to prove to myself that if I put my mind to it, I can achieve it,” Evans said. “I also wanted to push myself because this role is different than previous ones I’ve played.”

With prep work, cast members also put in a lot of time and effort to portray their characters on stage in order to give the most to audiences.

“I did a lot to prepare for this role. Everything from analyzing the script, to interviewing people for character work,” senior Grant Mannschreck said. “To simply learning the emotions this character has and getting inside his head. I did it all.”

In the production, Mannschreck plays the role of Randall, the boy lovestruck for Campbell. While connecting with his character in the show, Mannschreck also danced without a care behind his DJ booth.

“Connecting with my character is not easy to do. What I do, is I try to get into the mind of Randall every moment I get,” Mannschreck said. “I think about what his mannerisms are, what his vocal tone is like, what he is feeling in the moment, etc. I find that and then I try to transfer my own life experiences into these scenes when I am working them so that I am able to truly feel the emotions that Randall is feeling and really connect to how he feels.”

While cast members rehearsed, students behind the scenes brought costumes, makeup and sets to create the appearance of the final production.

“There were a bunch of problems that pop up so we have to think on the spot to solve our problems,” junior set crew leader Kobe Ready said. “The set wasn’t like a room it was just things you added to the scene.”

This structure created ease for transitions between scene and song. Although these pop up issues would occur, the set crew powered through to create scenes that were appealing to the eye and brought excitement to audience members.  

With the backgrounds, props and a well choreographed cast, the musical came together, creating a lively performance for audiences to enjoy and laugh along with.