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Touring Broadway musical 'Bring It On' offers cheers for the 'Glee' generation

Published February 25, 2014 10:48 am

Stage • Touring musical offers high-energy stunts, sass.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For New Jersey actor Nadia Vynnytsky, playing Campbell, a very competitive cheerleader in the touring Broadway musical "Bring It On," is a high-flying stretch.

The 26-year-old actor, who earned a BFA from Montclair State University and has sung with the Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra, has been touring nationally and internationally in shows ranging from "Legally Blonde" to "Shrek" to "Catch Me If You Can."

Singing, acting and dancing? No problem. Cheerleading stunts? That was like learning a whole new sport in rehearsals, she said in a phone interview from the hometown of Kristen Chenoweth, Broken Arrow, Okla. "I'm a dancer — I thought it would be easy to pick up, but cheerleading uses a whole different set of muscles," she said.

Vynnytsky refers to the professional cheerleaders and stunt performers in the cast as "monkeys" for their tumbling skills. "Every day, I still can't believe what they can do," she said.

She describes her character, a lead cheerleader who is forced to go to another high school thanks to redistricting, as very sweet and very, very ambitious.

"She knows what she wants, she just gets a little bit ahead of herself, and then she is humbled," Vynnytsky said. "She takes us on a nice journey throughout the show." As does the performer, who is onstage for almost every number, except when she's quick-changing through 16 or so costume updates.

The show features director Andy Blankenbuehler's choreography, unusual for its mashup of tumbling and hip-hop moves. "Every single time somebody goes up in the air, the audience is going nuts," as if they are attending a rock concert, Vynnytsky said. "Sometimes, I forget that somebody is flying behind me, and I think: 'Wow, they really like this song.' "

If a cheerleading competition seems like an odd backdrop for a musical comedy, theatergoers might be reassured by the show's high-powered, Tony Award-winning creative team. The story is by Jeff Whitty ("Avenue Q"), with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda ("In the Heights") and Tom Kitt ("Next to Normal"), and additional lyrics by Amanda Green ("High Fidelty"). The musical "has the feel of a daffy lark embarked upon as a summer-vacation goof," Charles Isherwood opined in The New York Times.

Her favorite song to perform is Act 1's "Perfect Moment," which reveal's Campbell's vulnerabilities. "She opens up to the audience, and you get to see what her true goal is, see where she's going."

"You can't possibly be bored," the actor says of "Bring It On." "There's a lot of high-flying stunts, the story is wonderful, and it teaches a lot of good messages."

ellenf@sltrib.com

Bring on the high-flying cheerleading musical

"Bring It On," the national tour of the Broadway musical, loosely inspired by the 2000 film starring Kirsten Dunst, brings a high-energy story that's "bitingly relevant and sprinkled with sass," promoters say. The show is powered by a Tony Award-winning creative team, with a story by Jeff Whitty ("Avenue Q"), music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda ("In the Heights") and Tom Kitt ("Next to Normal"), and lyrics by Amanda Green ("High Fidelty"). The production is directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler ("In the Heights").

When • Tuesday, Feb. 25-Sunday, March 2; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where • Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $30-$50.50 (plus facility and ticketing fees); $15 student tickets at the box office; arttix.org or 801-355-2787.