"What I Was Born to Do": Bring It On Boasts a Record 32 Broadway Debuts; Meet the Newbies

By Michael Gioia
14 Aug 2012

Ariana DeBose

Ariana DeBose, 21, from Raleigh, NC, was "literally bit by the theatre bug my freshman year," she said. "I was — and still am — a big ole' theatre nerd!" DeBose, who plays Jackson crew member Nautica, a sassy sidekick of Danielle's (Warren), got her start in theatre at the North Carolina Theatre, where she performed in Grease.

"The idea of being on Broadway was scary to me, but also what I had been dreaming of doing for the longest time," she said. "So many incredibly talented people have graced the Broadway stages — giants, legends! Stars are born in this community!" Now on Broadway, she added that the first performance of Bring It On was "one of the most amazing nights" of her life. "I fulfilled a promise that I made my 12-year-old self," said DeBose, "and for that, I am incredibly proud."

Dominique Johnson

Dominique Johnson, 22, knew he wanted to be a performer at age 12, when he played an Indian in a community college production of Peter Pan near his hometown in Birmingham, AL. "I wanted to fly so bad," he said, "but the Indians were 'Ground-Bound' — a little nod to a cut song from the workshop version of Bring It On. But technically people still fly in Bring It On... There's still hope."

"I'm one of six children and the second oldest," added Johnson, who plays Cameron, one of the tallest members of Jackson High's crew. "When I feel like it's a lot to bear or difficult to obtain, I persevere for them. I'm their example of 'if you believe it, you can achieve it.' They inspire me and motivate me every day to succeed. Failure is never an option."