Reach­ing great heights

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life -

JAY James-Moody was work­ing at a cinema as a teenager when the first Bring It

On film was re­leased in 2000, which re­sulted in many view­ings and de­vel­op­ing crushes on the fe­male leads.

De­spite not hav­ing any cheer­lead­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, it put the Syd­ney-based di­rec­tor on a good foot­ing to tackle the chal­lenge of WAAPA’s an­nual mid-year mu­si­cal at Re­gal The­atre, Bring It On: The Mu­si­cal.

“The mu­si­cal tells a dif­fer­ent story to the first film and is most closely aligned with the third movie in the series,” James-Moody said.

“There are a few lit­tle nods to the orig­i­nal film, but it’s es­sen­tially an orig­i­nal sto­ry­line set in the world of com­pet­i­tive cheer­lead­ing; it has the same com­edy, heart and hu­mour.

“The stu­dents had been through cheer boot camp and work­ing on their stunts well be­fore I signed on to do it.

“In the early stages of re­hearsals there were a lot of cheer ref­er­ences I needed to get them to ex­plain to me.”

James-Moody said the mu­si­cal was writ­ten by some of the best con­tem­po­rary Broad­way com­posers, in­clud­ing Pulitzer Prize win­ners Lin-Manuel Mi­randa, most re­cently praised for Hamil­ton, and Tom Kitt, who wrote Next To Nor­mal, per­formed in Perth last year by Black Swan State The­atre Com­pany.

“The mu­sic is ex­tra­or­di­nary and Mel­bourne chore­og­ra­pher Michael Ralph has done an amaz­ing job with the cheer rou­tines and stunts that my stom­ach drops ev­ery time I see them,” James Moody said. “I wouldn’t be brave enough to be thrown into the air, but it’s ex­hil­a­rat­ing to watch.”

The height re­quired to achieve the chore­og­ra­phy has meant tak­ing re­hearsals off the WAAPA cam­pus to a Clare­mont Show­ground pavil­ion.

“We sud­denly found out it’s not nec­es­sar­ily about the width and depth of the stage we need to re­hearse on but the height,” James-Moody said.

“We were a bit ner­vous about throw­ing them up to­wards the ceil­ing.”

Mu­sic the­atre stu­dents Han­nah Bur­ridge and Christina Odam are two of the more than 40-strong cast.

“They are all ex­tra­or­di­nary but Han­nah and Christina re­ally stood out,” James-Moody said. “They were a great duo to­gether as well be­cause they’re kind of ri­vals in the show.

“It’s a huge, fun spec­ta­cle and I’m so ex­cited about get­ting it in front of an au­di­ence.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d454584

Christina Odam as Eva and Han­nah Bur­ridge as Camp­bell in WAPPA's Bring it On: The Mu­si­cal.

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