“BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday
WHERE: Clay Center
INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.org
By Bill Lynch
The hardest part about being on the road isn’t the close quarters. It isn’t the constant packing and unpacking, the wondering where you are now after waking up on the bus. It’s not even the monotony of chain restaurants.
It’s being away from home and the people you love.
For Mason Trueblood, an ensemble dancer who performs Monday night with “Bring It On: The Musical” at the Clay Center, it may be a little harder.
“My girlfriend is touring with ‘Wicked,’” he said. “She’s in the ensemble like me.”
Trueblood said their tours never really sync up. When he’s on the road, she’s off. When’s she on the road, he’s off. They never play the same city, and their tours often are on opposite coasts.
“We both understand tour life,” he said. “We call, text and Skype. We make it work, but long distance is always difficult.”
He’s still glad he took the job.
“It’s amazing to travel across the country,” Trueblood said. “It’s all a very fun and new, uncharted experience for me."
Trueblood said his role is small but busy.
"Within the story, I play a lot of different characters," he said. "I'm a goth boy dissing the cheerleaders in one scene, and then I come out in a cheer uniform. There's constant movement for me, and I change to fit the narrative."
He also understudies for two of the primary roles.
"Bring It On: The Musical" is very loosely based on the 2000 film that starred Kirstin Dunst and Eliza Dushku. The story revolves around cheerleader Campbell Davis, who becomes captain of the Truman High School cheerleading squad, but is then transferred to the rougher, edgier Jackson High School, where she helps build a new squad to lead to nationals.
Trueblood regarded his role as a learning experience as well as another step in his overall journey as a performer, a path he's been on his entire life.
He said, "My parents owned a dance studio in Bakersfield, where I'm from. My mom was a ballerina and taught dance. My dad did regional theater and lots of different things but mostly just managed the studio.
"I grew up in dance, but my parents never pushed me. It was just seeing other people dance, I decided that was what I wanted to do, too."
Trueblood danced and did musical theater from grade school through high school and then attended the University of California, Irvine where he double-majored in dance and film and media studies.
"I got an agent while I was in college," he said. "And I would go to L.A. to audition for film, TV and commercial work."
He had a little success, did a couple of commercials and found one-off jobs on The Disney Channel show "Shake It Up," as well as "Glee."
He graduated in the spring and was in the indie dance film, "1 Chance 2 Dance."
"I landed the gig with 'Bring It On' after that," he said.
The tour has been good to him. Aside from the travel, Trueblood said he's enjoyed the camaraderie of the cast – something he'd heard about but had never seen firsthand.
"We really enjoy each other on the tour," he said. "There's no drama or ill will. It's like we get to hang out with our friends all day."
Performing every night has also opened up possibilities to Trueblood that he'd previously disregarded. While he'd earned a degree in dance, he'd really planned to just focus his attention on film and television.
"But maybe I could see myself on Broadway now," he said.
While he's not in a hurry to leave the road, Trueblood said he planned to return to L.A. after the tour was over to again pursue film and TV roles.
"The whole industry is just fascinating," he said.
And if another tour job came up, Trueblood said he'd love to do it. Maybe it would work that he and his girlfriend could be in the same show.
"That's the dream, right? Touring together one day."
Reach Bill Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5195.