Nadia Vynnytsky is clearly a triple threat when it comes to musical theater. But she was never a cheerleader in high school, and playing one on the stage isn’t easy.
“I thought it might be pretty simple to pick up a few cheerleading stunts,” said Vynnytsky, who has to sing, dance, act and perform some pretty athletic maneuvers in “Bring It On: The Musical,” a 2012 Broadway hit coming to Proctors for three shows Friday and Saturday. “But we had a day-long cheerleader camp and, believe me, I’ve done a lot of dancing but this was a whole new set of muscles I was using. It was definitely quite a challenge.”
“Bring It On: The Musical” is based loosely on the 2000 film, “Bring It On,” starring Kirsten Dunst. That movie spawned three sequels, as well as this staged musical. Jeff Whitty produced the book for the musical version, while the songs were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt and Amanda Green. It earned Tony nominations for Best Musical and Best Choreography.
“I really connect to the heart of the show,” said Vynnytsky, who has also had roles in national tours of “Shrek,” “Catch Me if You Can” and “Legally Blonde.” “It’s about friendship and acceptance, and how my character, Campbell, struggles with both of those things. It’s about loving who you are and about loyalty, and beyond that it’s just hilarious. It’s a very funny script, and all the characters I run into and have to deal with are great.”
’Bring It On: The Musical’
WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday
HOW MUCH: $65-$20
MORE INFO: 346-6204, www.proctors.org
Campbell, the lead in the show, is a 17-year-old high school senior who has to switch schools, going from a suburban environment to an inner-city district where there is no cheerleading team.
“It’s a tougher school, and she needs to have a cheerleading squad to keep her dream alive,” Vynnytsky said. “To do that she has to fit in with the crowd, but also grow and change.”
A Believable student
Vynnytsky is a 2010 graduate of Montclair State in her native New Jersey. She is 26 years old, but very believable in the role of a high-school senior.
“I guess you could say I have a baby face,” she said, laughing. “I enjoy playing the character and I relate to her. I remember what high school was like.”
The audition process for “Bring It On: The Musical” was quite an experience according to Vynnytsky.
“It was crazy,” she said. “We had a million callbacks, so we were in and out for a month, and then we got put on hold for a while. Then we had the cheerleading camp, where they tested our ability to pick up cheerleading stunts. When rehearsal started, they set aside two hours each day for the stunts. I learned quite a bit, including how to sing at the same time as I’m doing these stunts.”
This tour, which started in January, is using non-Equity performers, which means they’re not part of the actors union.
“These non-Equity tours, many of them are still working with the same original Broadway creative team,” said Vynnytsky. “We’ve worked with Andy Blankenbuehler, who directed the show and did the choreography on Broadway, and we’ve got to work with Alex Lacamoire, who was also involved with the music and dancing numbers on Broadway. It’s the same Broadway costumes and Broadway set, so we all feel like we’re getting the same experience.”
While Vynnytsky hasn’t earned her Actors Equity card yet, she has been working steadily since graduating from Montclair State four years ago.
“Honestly, it’s a very hard decision to make right now,” she said. “I’m thinking there are more non-Equity jobs at the moment, so I’ve been working more and getting paid less. Do I want to get paid more and work less? I don’t know that I have a reason to get a card because I’ve been working on all these really wonderful shows. We’ll have to see. I think next year I may take that step.”
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or email@example.com.