JOHNS CREEK, Ga.—Despite being only a year old, Theatre 5230, a community theater company based in North Fulton, is bringing hit musicals to life on the stage.
Last summer, the troupe performed the rock musical “Rock of Ages.” This summer, the actors and actresses of Theatre 5230 will bring an energetic mix of dance and cheerleading to their home stage at Chattahoochee High School with a performances of “Bring It On: The Musical.”
The musical, loosely based on the 2000 movie of the same name, follows the story of Campbell Davis, a high school senior whose life revolves around cheerleading. Campbell’s plan to be cheer captain is ruined when she gets the news she’s been redistricted to a different high school with no cheer squad. Campbell teams up with Danielle, the leader of her new school’s dance crew, and the two overcome their differences to create a cheer squad and attempt to win the national competition.
Lily Kren, a 2017 graduate of Pebblebrook High School, portrays Campbell. Like many of the actors in the show, this is Kren’s first musical with Theatre 5230.
“I got an ad across my Facebook about ‘Bring It On’, and it was the show that drew me in to audition for the company, and then I ended up falling in love with the people there,” Kren said.
Kren, who will be a freshman at Texas State University in the fall, said she enjoys the diversity of talent available at Theatre 5230.
“My favorite thing about community theatre is that I get to participate in making art with people all over the region, as opposed to in high school where I could only do it with people who were in my school,” Kren said.
Desiree Wilkins portrays Danielle, the “queen bee” of her high school.
Wilkins, who will attend the University of Alabama in the fall to pursue a musical theater degree, admits to facing nerves before each show.
“Stage fright is definitely a real thing,” Wilkins said. “Before shows, to get into my character, I normally take several deep breaths and meditate and think about who my character is as a person.”
Austin Branks portrays La Cienega, a transgender female on the dance crew.
Branks talked about how his character highlights the theme of acceptance.
“We don’t really go into her story, but I think that’s actually such a good thing because it shows audiences that they just need to accept that there are different people in the world, and everyone’s not going to be the same,” Branks said.
Branks will be a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, and he compared community theater to theater at his school.
“Community theatre is a lot more laid-back,” Branks said. “I feel like I get to put more of myself into the show than have to be under someone else’s guidelines.”
The cast and crew of “Bring It On” have been rehearsing since mid-June, and the actors say everyone involved now feels like family.
“My favorite part has definitely been the people,” Wilkins said. “I’ve met people from all over the metro Atlanta area. I love the sense of community.”
Ashton Pickering, assistant director of the show, was there at the beginning when the Theatre 5230 family was just getting started.
Pickering, who runs social media and marketing for the company, was sitting with the rest of the board members when they decided what to name the troupe.
“We just looked at our address — 5230 Taylor Road — and just thought ‘Theatre 5230’ works. So it’s not a clever code or anything — it’s just our address,” Pickering said.
The goal of Theatre 5230 is to spread theater across Georgia, without hurting wallets.
“Our goal is to spread high quality theater, but not to charge people a whole lot of money,” Pickering said.
As assistant director of “Bring It On,” Pickering’s job is to choose the costumes, help the choreographer and assist actors in developing their characters.
There’s something for everyone to enjoy in the musical, he said.
“The nice thing about the story is it’s very relatable and not just aimed toward high school students; it has everything,” Pickering said.
The actors said audiences should expect to see a high-energy production.
Pickering admitted she still gets nervous watching the cast perform high-flying cheerleading stunts.
“Audiences should come in knowing that they’re about to see an amazing show, with some serious choreography and some amazing vocals,” Branks added.
Theatre 5230 will perform “Bring it On: The Musical” July 20-22 at 7 p.m. and July 22 at 2 pm.
Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased at http://www.theatre5230.com/tickets.