We Are The Tigers

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We Are The Tigers
Off-Broadway Playbill
Preston Max Allen
Preston Max Allen
Preston Max Allen
Productions2015 Los Angeles
2019 Off-Broadway
AwardsOvation Award for Lyrics/Composition for an Original Musical

We Are The Tigers is a pop rock musical with book, lyrics, and music by Preston Max Allen.[1] The show first premiered in Los Angeles at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in 2015. The Off-Broadway production began previews at Theatre 80 in New York City on February 7 and the show ran from February 21, 2019 to April 1, 2019.[2] A cast album was released on April 26, 2019.[3]


Act I[edit]

Riley, new cheer captain, and her best friend Cairo are in the basement, preparing for the annual cheerleading sleepover. Riley laments the teams “loser” status and her desire to prove herself while the other team members arrive, with varying levels of enthusiasm, and Cairo tries to get Riley to relax (“Worst Team Ever”). The meeting is delayed until Annleigh arrives late, a clearly drunk Farrah in tow. While Riley attempts to lead them all in an introduction exercise, each team member expresses their inner concerns and worries, but ultimately states they don't care (“Don’t Even”). Cairo suggests a game of truth or dare and makes Mattie, the freshman on the team, drink the contents of Farrah's bottle. Riley tries to get them back on track by practicing a cheer, but Farrah refuses to participate if Chess is part of the team. Farrah berates Chess for being stoned and dropping her during a cheer (the reason the team went viral last year). Kate rises to her defense, stating that Farrah is drunk, and the argument escalates until Riley insists Kate take a walk and calm down.

Chess follows her friend outside and Kate confesses her fears over Chess moving away to college (“Skype Tomorrow”). When Kate asks Chess to come back inside with her, Chess tries to stay outside and they argue until Kate finds Chess's bottle of pain medication and leaves, furious. At the same time, Farrah tried to get Annleigh to stop texting and pay attention to her, accidentally breaking her phone. Annleigh tells Farrah they will never be sisters and leaves, furious. Chess and Farrah divulge their concerns over their lives and their vices (“Before The Breakdown”) while the other girls describe the struggles of being teenage girls. Alone, Chess hears strange noises and is murdered by an unseen person.  

Back in the kitchen, Annleigh is surprised by her boyfriend, Clark, who has snuck in to see her. Annleigh and Clark share their desires with each other and confirm their commitment to each other and their chastity (“Forever”). Cairo comes to retrieve Annleigh and Clarke hides. The doorbell rings, and Cairo and Annleigh introduce themselves to the pizza delivery girl, Eva Sanchez, who they recognize as West High's star cheerleader. In the living room, Reese is ignored by the other girls because she is just the mascot and she reveals her dreams to be popular and liked, the way Riley and the others are (“Captain of the Team”). When Kate returns without Chess, Reese volunteers to take her place, but the other members pressure Riley to say no. Instead, Reese is sent to find Chess and Farrah. Mattie stumbles to the bathroom, drunk from the earlier dare. In the other bathroom, Reese finds a sick Farrah throwing up. Reese and Farrah have an honest heart to heart, where Reese asks Farrah to stop calling her “Reeses”. Farrah begs Reese not to tell the others that she drank so much. When Reese leaves, Farrah reflects on her life (“Before the Breakdown (Reprise)”) and pours the rest of her flask down the toilet. Someone knocks on the door, and Farrah apologizes for being drunk before being killed in the shower by an unseen person.

Meanwhile, Annleigh checks on a drunk Mattie and Cairo confronts Kate about her feelings for Chess. Mattie comes back in the room, bloody from hitting her head in the bathroom. Cairo follows an upset Riley into the kitchen, where they argue over who has done more for the other. Cairo believes Riley's success is due to Cairo's encouragement, while Riley thinks Cairo hasn't done enough (“Wallflower”). They hear a scream and run outside to find Kate trying to save a dead Chess. Riley goes back inside to discover their cell phones have been stolen. In the bathroom, Reese finds Farrah's body and is surprised by Clark. Startled and afraid, Reese attacks Clark, accidentally killing him. When the other girls come running in after hearing her scream, Reese lets them assume Clarke was killed by the same person as Chess and Farrah.

Panicked by the deaths, Riley tries to call the police, but Cairo is worried they will be blamed for the murders and stops her. Instead, she proposes they pin the murder on Mattie- someone they don't know and who is drunk . The team reluctantly agrees to Cairo's plan and work together to plant a murder weapon (“Defense”). As Mattie staggers in and asks what's happening, the girls pass the knife with blood on it to Riley as they surround Mattie and the lights go out.

Act II[edit]

Mattie is in prison. She writes to her parents about how bad her life is now, and how she never should have joined the cheer team (“Mattie’s Lament”).

The Tigers return to Riley's, with two new members, Reese, and Eva Sanchez. Cairo accuses Riley of avoiding her and for paying for Eva's scholarship to come to their school. The girls once again assemble in the basement, where Riley does her best to convince them they can still have a great year (“Phoenix”). Kate, who keeps hearing Chess's ghost, is furious at them all for trying to act like nothing happened. They argue until Kate announces she is going to call the police and fix what they've done.

Outside, Kate and Annleigh struggle over their feelings for their dead loved ones (“Move On”), with the ghosts of Farrah, Clark, and Chess watching them. Reese follows Kate outside and begs her not to call the police. When Kate asks why, Reese confessed to killing Clark. Annleigh overhears and is angrily attacks Reese for letting her believe Clark died after cheating on her with Farrah. As the two begin to fight and Riley, Cairo, and Kate try to separate them, Eva watches the chaos and wrestles with whether or not she should stay on the team: being on the Tigers means she is at a better school and can get a better education, but these girls are clearly unstable (“Shut Up and Cheer”).

Dismayed over the fighting, Riley goes inside to get Annleigh and Reese some ice and tells everyone they can go. Cairo follows her, insisting that Riley stop them from leaving. Cairo believes they need to maintain the lie in order to stay out of trouble and they argue over what to do next. Riley leaves, and Cairo struggles over Riley's decision not to listen to her (“Wallflower (Reprise)”). Back in the basement, Riley finds the door is locked and wifi is down. While Riley searches for a key, she asks them to talk out their issues. Cairo, Kate, Annleigh, and Reese argue over which one of them could have been the murderer (“IDK”).

Annoyed, Riley tries to get them to just practice cheering. When the team refuses, Riley gets increasingly agitated, and as the rest of the girls watch, breaks down. Cairo realizes Riley has the key and Kate and Reese try to reassure her, but an angry Riley confesses to the murders (“The Breakdown”). After a struggle, Reese knocks Riley out and Cairo helps tie her up. Annleigh is sent to call the police while Eva helps Kate, whom Riley stabbed in the thigh. Riley tells them no one will believe them if they turn her in, but Eva reveals she recorded Riley's whole confession on her phone. Riley begs Cairo to untie her as police sirens wail.

In the gym, the remaining Tigers return to practice. Kate and Annleigh reveal they are coping with the deaths of Chess, Farrah, and Clarke (“Move On (Reprise)”). Mattie is back from Juvie, Cairo is the new cheer captain, Annleigh has met a new guy in grief counseling, and Kate is dating Eva. Eva reminds them all that they have community service for being accessories to the crime. Reese starts to show them all the new cheer and they all, including Farrah, Chess, Riley, and Clark, reflect on moving on and healing with the support of each other (“Finale”).

Musical numbers[edit]

†Song not featured on Cast Album.

††Song featured on Cast Album only and is not sung in stage production.


Character Los Angeles




Riley Callandra Olivia Lauren Zakrin
Cairo Jade Johnson Wonu Ogunfowora
Kate Cailan Rose Jenny Rose Baker
Reese Gabi Hankins Mimi Scardulla
Annleigh Rachel King Kaitlyn Frank
Mattie Charlotte Mary Wen Cathy Ang
Chess Cait Fairbanks Celeste Rose
Farrah Talisa Friedman Zoe Jensen
Eva Sanchez Ari Afsar Sydney Parra
Clark Adam Cropper Louis Griffin


Ashley Lynette Brown

Katie Deshan

Patrick Reilly

Alexia Sielo

Caroline Lellouche

Cameron Bartell



Writer Preston Max Allen first workshopped the show at Columbia College Chicago in 2013,[6] followed by a self produced workshop at the Gene Frankel Theatre[7] and an industry reading on April 28–29, 2014, which was held by Over The Moon Productions.[8] The restaurant/venue 54 Below hosted “We Are The Tigers: In Concert” on January 17, 2015[9] and the musical was the subject of "two sold-out workshop performances in August, 2015".[10]

We Are The Tigers's world premiere was in Los Angeles, at the Hudson Backstage Theatre from October 2, 2015 through November 8, 2015.[11][12]

In 2016, the musical was featured as one of just five shows in the Gallery Players' New Musical Reading Series 2016-2017 season.[13]

Hosted by NYC's Musical Theatre Factory, a concert with songs from the show was performed at Joe's Pub on August 26, 2018.[14]


The Off-Broadway production of We Are The Tigers began previews at Theatre 80 on February 7, 2019, and ran from February 21st, 2019 until April 1, 2019. It was directed by Michael Bello, with choreography by Katherine Roarty and musical arrangements and orchestration by Patrick Sulken.[15]

A cast album was recorded on March 29, 2019 with an in-store and digital release date of April 26, 2019.[16]

Critical reception[edit]

Los Angeles Production[edit]

Editors of The Advocate wrote that the world premiere of We Are The Tigers, "combines elements of mean-girls stories and teen horror movies to come up with a fresh, often hilarious, and sometimes moving tale of trying to survive high school"[17] and Examiner.com gave the musical five stars, saying it: "will have you cheering & dancing in your seats.” and "the songs are wonderful and the performers, besides having great voices, have perfect comic timing".

However, Deborah Klugman of La Weekly said "The talent is certainly there... but it’s hard to gauge its full measure in a thoughtless vehicle like this one", calling it "another painfully sexist, stupid musical".[18]

The production was nominated for three LA Ovation Awards.[19]

Off-Broadway Run[edit]

Originally slated to run through April 17, the production closed on April 1.

Reviews for the Off-Broadway show were mixed, with Broadwayworld.com author David Clark writing that the show “makes you forgive its missteps by being infectiously plucky and actually fun”,[20] while the New York Times's Elisabeth Vincentelli was harsher, stating “Unfortunately, Preston Max Allen’s meandering show is a textbook example of how to squander a promising concept. There is almost no cheering and not nearly enough slashing; on the other hand, there is an abundance of exposition, often done via samey-sounding tunes that echo each other”.[21] Zachary Stewart of theatermania.com stated: "This cheerleaders-in-a-basement screamfest is not a great musical — nor is it an unpleasant way to spend two hours and change".[22]

The cast album, released on April 26, 2019, received positive reviews from Broadwayworld, where Clark wrote "Each of these talented and capable singers makes these tracks memorable and tunes that your heart will ruminate on for some time... don't be afraid to get swept away by the bops and beats as long as you're willing to listen to and reflect on these well-crafted stories. There's definitely more here than meets the eye".[23]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Los Angeles Production[24]
Year Awards Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2016 Ovation Awards Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theatre) We Are The Tigers: A New Musical Nominated
2016 Ovation Awards Music Direction Patrick Sulken Nominated
2016 Ovation Awards Lyrics/Composition for an Original Musical Preston Max Allen Winner


  1. ^ "We Are the Tigers | Theater in New York". Time Out New York. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  2. ^ Franklin, Marc J. (February 21, 2019). "We Are The Tigers Opens Off-Broadway February 21". Playbill.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  3. ^ "We Are The Tigers (Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording)". Broadway Records. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  4. ^ "We Are The Tigers: A New Musical- CAST". onstage411.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  5. ^ "We Are the Tigers - Lortel Archives". www.lortel.org. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  6. ^ Kowalsky, Megan (2013). "We Are The Tigers at Columbia College Chicago". colum.edu. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  7. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Teen Horror Comedy WE ARE THE TIGERS To Premiere Off-Broadway In 2019". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  8. ^ Gioia, Michael (April 28, 2014). "Industry Readings of We Are The Tigers, With Meghann Fahy, Molly Ranson, Remy Zaken, Emily Skeggs, Held April 28–29". Playbill.com. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  9. ^ "We Are The Tigers in Concert". Feinstein's/54 Below. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  10. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Photo Flash: WE ARE THE TIGERS at Hudson Backstage Theatre". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  11. ^ Productions, Heart and Flame (September 14, 2015). "We Are The Tigers: A New Musical". LAFPI. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  12. ^ "We Are The Tigers: A New Musical". Onstage411. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  13. ^ "OVERTURES – The Gallery Players". Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  14. ^ "We Are the Tigers with Music & Lyrics by Preston Max Allen". www.publictheater.org. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  15. ^ "We Are The Tigers". tigersmusical.com. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  16. ^ McPhee, Ryan (March 14, 2019). "Off-Broadway's We Are the Tigers to Release Cast Recording". Playbill. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  17. ^ "7 Things List: October 16, 2015". www.advocate.com. October 16, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  18. ^ Klugman, Deborah (October 13, 2015). "Yet Another Painfully Sexist, Stupid Musical in Los Angeles". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  19. ^ "The 27th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards Nominees Announced". @ This Stage. November 2, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  20. ^ Clarke, David. "BWW Review: WE ARE THE TIGERS Fumbles But Is Still F-U-N". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  21. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (April 17, 2019). "Review: One Cheer for 'We Are the Tigers'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  22. ^ "Cheerleader Horror Musical We Are the Tigers Stalks Laughs and Teen Screams | TheaterMania". www.theatermania.com. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  23. ^ Clarke, David. "BWW Album Review: WE ARE THE TIGERS (Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording) Bops with Beats and Bite". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  24. ^ "The 2016 Ovation Awards Winners Announced". @ This Stage. January 18, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2019.