Summerlin actress hits national scene in "Bring It On: The Musical"


Even as a child, Elle McLemore had her sights set on Broadway.

She's about to reach that goal. The last time View visited McLemore was in 2007, when she was 15 and part of a benefit concert, singing alongside Strip production cast members.

"I was expecting a high school girl to join us," said Bruce Ewing, cast member of "Phantom -- The Las Vegas Spectacular." "She came into rehearsals prepared and ready to go, like a true pro. Many people didn't realize how young she was until they were told."

Now 20 and a 2009 Palo Verde High School graduate, McLemore plays a lead character, Eva, in "Bring It On: The Musical." The high-energy show is on a national tour through June, when it is scheduled to wrap in Toronto. After that, the contract stipulates that producers can opt to take it to the Great White Way.

"My biggest dream was to do something there," McLemore said of Broadway. "It's something I've wanted my whole life."

The "Bring It On" plot mixes "Mean Girls" with "Glee."

Playing the part of Eva permits McLemore to stretch her acting abilities. Ava comes across as an awe-struck cheerleader who champions the team's cohesiveness. Later, the audience learns about the character's darker side: she back-stabs and plots for her own benefit.

McLemore already has plenty of performing experience. When she was 4, she and her family -- mom, Gail, is a dancer; dad, Todd, is a pyrotechnics technician -- toured with "Melinda: First Lady of Magic." McLemore played the magician, portrayed at an early age. She also appeared in productions put on at Palo Verde, 333 Pavilion Center Drive.

Two weeks after graduating from high school, McLemore moved to Los Angeles and got on the audition bandwagon. She estimated she had 150 auditions in the past two years. She picked up a couple of commercials as well as television appearances on Disney's "The Suite Life on Deck" and ABC's "The Middle."

Rejections, she said, "made me strong ... there were times when I'd think of driving back to Las Vegas to go to UNLV and live with my mom. But I kept trudging along."

The part in "Bring It On: The Musical" is very strenuous and demanding, she said.

"She's always talking about her 'guns,' her biceps, how big they are now, doing this every night," Gail McLemore said.

Fellow cast member Jason Gotay said it was apparent that Elle McLemore had a strong background in entertaining.

"Right from the beginning, she's always been professional ... there were little things like her rehearsal etiquette and how she conducts herself," he said.

The part is a curious one for someone with minimal gymnastics experience.

McLemore had planned to try out for cheerleading at Palo Verde, but a phone call falsely accusing her of ditching school nixed that audition. By the time she had proved that she had actually been at school, the tryouts were over, and McLemore didn't join the team.

"So, somebody pulled an Eva on me," she said.

Later, she got a part in a Dean Cain and Steve Guttenberg film, "At the Top of the Pyramid." It was fate, she said.

Without that part, McLemore speculated she might not have been noticed for "Bring It On: The Musical."

On the set of that movie, she learned pyramid-building stunts, similar to ones she now performs eight times a week. The stunt work was hard, she said, and took a long time to get down pat. It also was dangerous.

"I knocked two of my teeth out (while filming that movie), so I was a little scared of getting back into it," she said of pyramid building.

But she did audition, got the callbacks and made it through to the final one that saw her jetting off to New York City to meet the producers. After taking a taxi to her hotel, she went outside to soak up the energy of the city and stare at the theaters of Broadway.

"It's so weird how much has happened," she said. "You imagine what you want to do, and all of a sudden, it happens," she said.

McLemore will find out this summer if the show will appear on the Great White Way.

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 387-2949.

 

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