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WE’VE GOT SPIRIT, YES WE DO!

 

poster1Grab your pom-poms, Houston, and head to Theater Under the Stars where “Bring It On: The Musical” hits the stage September 12-14!

We all love the movie, and now we get to cheer on a cast of teen actors as they “bring it” to a live performance.

HFM Managing Editor Sara Stephens interviewed two of the cast members about their roles, the show, and their acting careers. Read on, then go watch the show. You’ll get to say, “I knew them when…”

 

 

NAME: Mallory Bechtel (MB)girl1
AGE: 14
CHARACTER PLAYED IN “BRING IT ON:” Eva  

HFM: How did you first get involved in acting?  What was your first acting experience?  How old were you? What role did you play and in what show?
MB: I first got involved with acting when I was around four years old. I really enjoyed singing, and as soon as my mom discovered this she immediately signed me up for musical theatre classes. I think my first show ever was Twinderella, in which I played a trumpeter. 

HFM: What do you like about acting?    
MB: What I love the most about acting is the whole process of becoming another person and completely investing in their personality. Also, it is one of the most exhilarating feelings to portray a character in front of a live, responsive audience. 

HFM: How do you feel before you get on stage? How do you feel once you’re on stage?
MB: Usually before I go up on stage I feel slightly nervous, but in a more thrilling way than sickening. Once I am on stage performing, my nerves usually completely disappear. 

HFM: What do you do to prepare for a performance or an audition?
MB: To prepare for a performance or audition, I am bound to practice a lot on my own before the actual event. Specifically for a musical like Bring It On, it’s not enough to only think about the show while you are rehearsing with the cast. In order to retain all of the choreography, stunts, and music, which are all extremely difficult for this specific show, I have to rehearse at home in order to perform the best that I can. 

HFM: What are your character’s strengths and weaknesses? In what ways do you identify with the character?
MB: My character in Bring It On, Eva, is definitely very skilled at manipulating people. She is also quite a talented actress and extremely smart when it comes to getting what she wants. One of her main weaknesses is her need to be approved by all of her peers. Eva is way too concerned with popularity and being at the top of the food chain at her high school.  I can relate to my character in the sense that we are both just starting high school and are trying to grow accustom the new experience. We just handle it much different ways. 

HFM: What do you like best about the Bring It On story?
MB: Bring It On has become such a famous movie amongst the teen community, but not as many people know about the musical. The musical actually is a different story with different characters, and I prefer it to the movie. I love that the musical has a great message about accepting people for who they are and embracing yourself and your uniqueness. It’s inspiring and definitely speaks out to a lot of people in their teens. 

HFM: What advice do you have for kids/teens who want to explore an acting career?
MB: The best advice I can give to kids who would like to pursue acting is to take classes. I have grown so much as an actor through the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre and would be almost nowhere without the training. Taking advantage of training opportunities every chance you get will help you so much to evolve into a better and more professional actor.

 

girl2NAME: Grace Nardecchia (GN)
AGE: 15
CHARACTER PLAYED IN “BRING IT ON:” I’m in the Truman High School Ensemble. My alter ego’s name is “Zooey DeVersaci.”

HFM: How did you first get involved in acting?  What was your first acting experience?  How old were you? What role did you play and in what show?
GN: When I was 4, I played the dog in The Little Red Hen in my toddler acting class. My role consisted of peering under a picket fence and repeating “Not I, said the dog.” A few years later my mom put me in year-round swimming with my older brother Ryne. On the way home from swim practice, I started to cry. My mom asked me what was wrong. I sobbed: “Swimming is Ryne’s sport. I want to act and sing on stage!” The next day, my mom signed me up for my first musical audition, which was open to age 6 and up. When the theatre manager suggested the rehearsal schedule may be too rigorous for a 6-year-old, my mom replied: “Then don’t cast her.” I was cast as Audrey in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.  On the way home from my first rehearsal, I cried again. My mom said: “Now what’s wrong?” With tears rolling down my face I replied: “I’m just so happy!” Years later, I realized there isn’t an Audrey in that show. My director created my role because she knew it helped kids with their character development when ensemble roles have names too. When Ryne saw me in that musical, he decided acting was for him, and he gave up swimming too. He later received a TUTS’ Tommy Tune Award for Best Leading Actor, and he’s now in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Texas State University. 

HFM: What do you like about acting?
GN: I like that I have the freedom to step into an entirely different world for a time and to venture out of my usual and predictable lifestyle.

HFM: How do you feel before you get on stage? How do you feel once you’re on stage?
GN: I am an adrenaline junky. I love the anticipation that builds up inside me before we go onstage. Acting is a team sport. Being onstage for me is the greatest feeling in the world because we all work so hard together to get to this one moment. It’s such a rewarding feeling to get to share this moment with our audience through our performance.

HFM: What do you do to prepare for a performance or an audition?
GN: My goal for auditions is to prepare my material well, then have fun, relax and not judge myself. This sounds easier than it may be in the moment. There are many reasons why a casting choice is made. The only part I can control is to do my best work and have a positive experience that I can build on for my next audition. The outcome is not as important as what I’ve learned. 

At TUTS we’re encouraged to develop our characters to prepare for our performance. In order to relate to the audience, I need to develop and know who she is, and what she would feel in all the situations and relationships of the story. This is especially important for unnamed ensemble roles where the script and score doesn’t define our personalities.   

HFM: What are your character’s strengths and weaknesses? In what ways do you identify with the character?
GN: Our director, Roshunda Jones, told us that even though we are in the ensemble, we need a fully developed character with as many goals as the leads do. My character, Zooey DeVersaci, has been forced into doing cheer her whole life by her crazed cheer-mom. As Zooey, I dislike every aspect of cheerleading and would much rather pursue my goal to become a video game designer. I whole-heartedly relate to Zooey because I am not who you would peg as a typical cheerleader, but it has been fun to play one in a musical.

HFM: What do you like best about the Bring It On story?
GN: I like the musical’s message about coming together as one and not judging others before you get to know them. We’re all guilty of doing this at some level, but we have an opportunity to become more aware of our biases and work to see others for who they truly are, instead of judging the book by its cover. There is something special in everyone.

HFM: What advice do you have for kids/teens who want to explore an acting career?
GN: If it makes you happy, you should go for it. Don’t let others bring you down and make you feel like you can’t do this. Only you can determine what you can and cannot achieve in your life.

 

 

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