Watch Amber Ardolino, Alex Wong, and JJ Niemann Sing ‘Eye on the Prize’ from RANKED, A MUSICAL
Don’t be a little b*tch—and do what it takes to survive. That’s the message behind “Eye on the Prize” from the new musical Ranked, about a group of students who do everything they can to stay at the top of their high school class. Check out a music video of the song, featuring Amber Ardolino (Funny Girl), Alex Wong (Newsies), and JJ Niemann (For You, Paige), below.
Based on conversations with their students, drama teachers and musical creators Kyle Holmes and David Taylor Gomes wrote Ranked to capture the fears and anxieties of their students around the increasingly pressurized college admissions process. Holmes wrote the book and Gomes composed the score.
The show quickly developed popularity and seemed poised to become a hallmark production for high school theatres across the country—until the pandemic happened.
“I was excited about this project particularly because of its unconventional rollout,” says Niemann. “So many shows seem to feel the need to go from point A to B to C, but it's exciting when you see a show getting its name out there in an exciting new way, like producing it around the country at dozens of schools—and even getting an HBO documentary made about it!”
“I was really excited when I heard about this project because I love variety in my work and it’s not as often that I get called in to record a song since a lot of my projects are based around dance,” said Wong, who is perhaps best known for his all-star turn on So You Think You Can Dance and catchy Instagram posts. “I had a listen to the song and I loved the feel of it and the fact that a new arrangement was going to be made just for us was really exciting!”
The music video is directed by Tyler Milliron and was filmed at Milliron Studios. It is produced by Holmes with music production by Andrew Heringer and David Taylor Gomes and casting by Stephanie Klapper.
As Niemann noted, the musical was recently featured in an HBO documentary called My So-Called High School Rank, now available to stream on HBO Max. The film explored the show’s origins and how the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted a number of productions around the country, from inception to stage to Zoom and beyond. It features Holmes and Gomes, as well as students, parents, and staff of Granite Bay High School and Cupertino High School in California, Fordham High School for the Arts in New York City, and Ripley High School in West Virginia.