May 23, 2017

Writers Guild blocking “Bring It On” musical

By Sean O’Connell Broadway musicals inspired by popular films are nothing new. Theater crowds routinely line up for “Marry Poppins,” “The Lion King” or “Legally Blonde.” And if you can’t make it to Manhattan, traveling productions usually bring the music and run to you via regional tours.

But on the eve of its first tour, a musical based on the cheerleading comedy “Bring It On” is facing some resistance.

The Writers Guild of America has filed a claim on behalf of original “Bring It On” scripter Jessica Bendinger claiming that that Beacon Communications Corp. and Beacon Communications, LLC are “exploiting Bendinger’s dramatic rights in the cheerleader-themed Bring It On without her consent, in violation of the guild agreement’s ‘separated rights’ provisions.” THR says that the guild “seeks damages and an injunction against Bring It On: The Musical, which is being coproduced by Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Beacon Communications and others.”

Bendinger says she was working on her own stage version of her original idea for six years, and learned about this rival production from third-party persons.

“I was shocked,” Bendinger says. “A writer works all her life trying to have a first hit. I was not treated well, given the revenue stream I created for them.”

The “Bring It On” musical recently wrapped previews in Atlanta. It is about to start a four-city tour on Oct. 30.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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