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'Bring It On' combines cheers, singing, dancing

Special Photo: Greg Mooney
 The Truman High School Buccaneers are seen in the world premiere of “Bring It On: The Musical,” which will be performed through Feb. 20 at the Alliance Theatre. 

Special Photo: Greg Mooney The Truman High School Buccaneers are seen in the world premiere of “Bring It On: The Musical,” which will be performed through Feb. 20 at the Alliance Theatre. 

ATLANTA — The award-winning cast, director and composers of “Bring It On: The Musical” have brought the high-stakes, high-impact world of competitive cheering together with world-class acting, singing and dancing. This fun and entertaining musical production has been shaped by a unique union of Broadway’s most celebrated, fresh creators.

The Alliance Theatre opens this year with this exciting world premiere because of what it means to theater lovers here in metro Atlanta.

“Kicking off 2011 with this world premiere is a prime example of the Alliance’s deep commitment to offering Atlanta the country’s first look at Broadway’s best and brightest creating new work at the top of their game,” said Alliance Theatre Artistic Director Susan V. Booth-Jennings Hertz Jr.

If You Go

• What: “Bring It On: The Musical”

• When: 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and at 2:30 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 20

• Where: The Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta

• Cost: Tickets start at $25

• For more information: Call 404-733-5000

Director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Choreography for “In the Heights.” His other credits include the Broadway Musical “9 to 5,” “The Wiz,” and “Desperately Seeking Susan,” just to name a few. Blankenbuehler has also staged work for Elton John and Bette Midler.

“I didn’t know much about cheering before this. The emotion is so honest and raw, even exaggerated. That really appealed to me,” Blankenbuehler said of working with some of the nation’s most skilled competition cheerleaders. The director also said that, from the outset, “everybody needed everybody else. The actors needed the cheerleaders to teach them the stunts and motions, and the cheerleaders needed the actors to learn stagecraft. We bonded right away.”

The producers chose the Alliance Theatre and the city of Atlanta for good reason.

“The Alliance has a reputation for choosing productions that go on to Broadway. The Alliance is also a strong voice in our industry,” Blankenbuehler said.

Why Atlanta? “The city is a strong sports town, and cheering is a big sport here. Also, the “cultural and ethnic diversity of the city” mirror the makeup of the cast and are key to some of the themes in the production, Blankenbuehler said.

The two-week preview period before the Jan. 28 opening gave the director, cast and crew the opportunity to see and feel the audience reaction to the high-energy production.

“During that time, you can easily sense the audience around you,” the director said. Using the audience reactions during that two-week period, changes and tweaks were made that added to the production.