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

By Michael Gioia
14 Aug 2012

AJ Blankenship

"This is my first professional theatre job ever!" said 22-year-old swing AJ Blankenship from Circleville, OH. "I came from a modern dance background, but always dreamed of being on Broadway… I knew Broadway was an option for me when I found out that this amazing musical was in the works. This show combines all my passions into one fun, thrilling theatre experience."

Blankenship, who studied Dance Performance at The Ohio State University and was a varsity cheerleader there for four years, also coached cheerleading in the town of Sunbury. "I always preached to those little kids about how desire, dedication and discipline can take you anywhere in life," he said. "What kind of role model would I be if I gave up on my own dream? I hope that my experiences can inspire those kids to chase their dreams just as they inspired me to chase mine."

Danielle Carlacci

Danielle Carlacci, 21, knew that she would take on Broadway "from a very early age," she said. "I saw Beauty and the Beast when I was four and was absolutely amazed. My mom couldn't get me to stop singing and dancing on our coffee table." From there, Carlacci, from Port Jefferson, NY, performed regionally at the Gateway Playhouse and appeared on Disney's "iCarly."

"It was so exciting to find out we were going to Broadway. It was amazing — I burst into tears our first day in the theatre," said Carlacci, a swing for the new Broadway musical. She added, "I had to learn an immense amount of responsibility and discipline in order to do my job to my best ability. It was my first time being a swing, and it takes a lot of patience and a lot of work!"