WGA, the union that protects intellectual property and also determines billing credits and residual payments, filed arbitration against producer Beacon Communications, asserting that the work of original "Bring It On" film screenwriter Jessica Bendinger is being exploited without her consent or compensation.
Universal Pictures, which also produced the original 2000 film (and subsequent franchise), is also behind the stage adaptation that is billed as having a completely original book by Tony Award-winning Avenue Q book writer Jeff Whitty.
The stage musical maintains the setting within the world of competitive cheerleading, but finds a new way into the action. None of the character names from the film appear in the stage production.
“As a policy, the producers of Bring It On: The Musical will not comment on legal matters. The national tour will begin performances in Los Angeles on October 30, 2011 as scheduled," a spokesperson for the stage production said in a statement to Playbill.com. Bendinger claims she had also been at work on her own stage musical adaptation of Bring It On for the past six years, collaborating with Wicked producer Marc Platt. It is also reported that Bendinger did not share in any revenue stream from the four subsequent "Bring It On" films, which were spawned after the first hit and released direct to DVD.
"I was shocked. A writer works all her life trying to have a first hit. I was not treated well, given the revenue stream I created for them," Bendinger told the Hollywood Reporter.
Here's how producers bill the musical: "In Bring It On: The Musical, the high-stakes world of competitive cheerleading is intertwined with cutthroat high school politics to tell the story of Campbell, the heir apparent to the head cheerleader at Truman High School. Campbell is at the top of the cheerleader pyramid and she has it all -- a strong squad, a doting boyfriend and a straight path to the national championships. Her entire life has been dedicated to honing routines and staying within the strict rules and guidelines, but when a surprise letter arrives, Campbell’s world is thrown upside down."
The musical has music and lyrics by Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights) with additional music by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and lyrics by Kitt's High Fidelity collaborator, lyricist Amanda Green. Tony-winning In the Heights orchestrator Alex Lacamoire is also on board as musical supervisor.
Bring It On first debuted in early 2011 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Tony Award-winning In the Heights choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, who also staged that production, will direct and choreograph the upcoming tour, which will open in Los Angeles Nov. 11 for a run through Dec. 10 at the Ahmanson Theatre.
The current itinerary for Bring It On follows:
Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 30-Dec. 10 at the Ahmanson Theatre)
San Francisco, CA (Dec. 14-Jan. 7, 2012, at the Orpheum Theatre)
Denver, CO (Jan. 10-21, 2012, at the Buell Theatre)
Houston, TX (Jan. 24-Feb. 5, 2012, at the Hobby Center)
Fayetteville, AR (Feb. 7-12, 2012, at the Walton Arts Center)
Des Moines, IA (Feb. 28-March 4, 2012, at the Civic Center)
St. Louis, MO (March 27-April 8, 2012, at the Fox Theatre)
Charlotte, NC (April 10-15, 2012, at the Belk Theatre)
Durham, NC (April 17-22, 2012, at the Durham PAC)
Providence, RI (April 24-29, 2012, at the Providence PAC)
The stage production is produced by Universal Pictures Stage Productions/Glenn Ross, Beacon Communications/Armyan Bernstein and Charlie Lyons, and Kristin Caskey and Mike Isaacson.