One of the great joys of Bring It On: The Musical, the new high-energy musical at the St. James Theatre that is inspired by the popular film franchise about rival cheerleading teams, is its introduction of a slew of young, multi-talented actors. Chief among these New Faces of 2012 is 21-year-old Taylor Louderman, who portrays Campbell, the bubbly head cheerleader at Truman High School whose world is turned upside down when she is "redistricted" to rival Jackson High School. Louderman, who is joined by Jason Gotay (Rent) as Randall, Elle McLemore as Eva, Ariana DeBose (Hairspray, "So You Think You Can Dance") as Nautica, Gregory Haney (Memphis) as La Cienega, Neil Haskell (West Side Story, 9 to 5, "So You Think You Can Dance") as Steven, Janet Krupin as Kylar, Kate Rockwell (Legally Blonde, "Grease! You're the One That We Want") as Skylar and Nick Womack as Twig, could be described as a quadruple threat: singer, actor, dancer and cheerleading stunt master. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of chatting with an exuberant Louderman, who spoke about making her Broadway bow in the new family-friendly musical by Jeff Whitty, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt and Amanda Green; that brief interview follows.
Question: Since we haven't spoken before, let's start at the beginning. Where you were born and raised?
Taylor Louderman: I was actually born in Madison, Wisconsin, but raised in urban Missouri.
Question: When did you start performing?
Louderman: When I was ten, I did my first show. It was Annie.
Question: What role?
Louderman: I played Annie. [Laughs.] But prior to that, I had danced a little bit, and I did summer things, but that was my first musical theatre run-in.
|photo by Joan Marcus|
Question: When you were growing up, or even today, were there any artists—any actors—who you particularly admired or influenced you?
Louderman: Well, growing up I watched a lot of Shirley Temple movies. [Laughs.] I would re-watch them over and over again. Today, there's so many… It changes so often, actors grow and evolve, so I don't want to just give one name.
Question: When did performing change from a hobby to when you knew it was going to be your career?
Louderman: It was my first show at the Muny in St. Louis—the world's largest outdoor theatre. And, it was Aida, and I only came on stage for maybe a total of a minute-and-a-half the whole show because I was considered a Muny teen. We just kind of fill in the background, but once I stepped out on that theatre and saw 11,000 people, that's when I [thought], "This is too cool not for me to pursue."
Question: Did you go to college or did you go directly into performing?
Louderman: I went to the University of Michigan for two years, and I auditioned for Bring It On during my sophomore year, so I got to finish my sophomore year and then I joined the cast—the touring cast.
Question: In the same role that you're playing now?
Question: What was it like taking that show on the road and that experience for you because that would have been your first tour?
Louderman: Yeah, it was my first big anything! It was crazy. It was so much fun, and I learned so much—not even about performing, but as a person—and I had a lot of support with the creatives and with [director-choreographer] Andy [Blankenbuehler] and everyone who was on board. I have to really thank my producers because they really were aware that I was young and new, and they helped me a lot. So it was a blast and an amazing, amazing experience.
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