I’ll admit it: when I first heard that Bring It On: The Musical was coming to town, I wasn’t immediately sold. I’m forever skeptical of any movie-turned-musical. But then I did some reading up on the production in question and found out that not only was it written by the hilarious brain behind Avenue Q, it was also composed and directed/choreographed by the geniuses who brought me one of my best musical experiences to date with In The Heights (Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andy Blakenbuehler, respectively). Once I discovered all this, I thought to myself: How could this go wrong??!?! Answer: It couldn’t.
Though not particularly groundbreaking or revolutionary as far as musicals go, Bring It On was entertaining and fun and ridiculous (in the good way) and super—I mean super duper—peppy. The choreography is fresh, and the cast’s mix of professional dancers and actual cheerleaders meant that the performance was tight, technical, and precise. Every time someone executed a cool flip or tumble, people around me would gasp in admiration, and for good reason: the athleticism that it takes to be a gymnast is insane, and this only further proved it.
Though only loosely based on the original teen dream Bring It On movie from 2000, the musical version has all the backstabbing, high kicking, and drama that you expect from a story about high school cheerleaders. The plot follows blondie-pop Campbell (Taylor Louderman) as she is forced to leave her beloved Truman High Buccaneer cheer squad when her school zone is redistricted. Now, she has to go to Jackson High, where she finds herself having to deal with fierce Danielle (Adrienne Warren) and her hip-hop dance crew. When Campbell discovers that being redistricted was all part of her protégé Eva (Elle McLemore)’s plan to become captain of the Buccaneers, she rounds up her new friends at Jackson to rival Eva at nationals. Along the way they do a lot of singing, because, you know, it’s a musical. The songs combine rap, hip-hop, and pop, as well as the occasional chant that cheerleading is known for. It’s catchy and fun, just like it should be.
Bring It On is exactly what you want it to be: entertaining. Don’t expect to think too hard (or at all, really, because you’ll be too busy staring at their tight abs), because that’s not what this musical’s about. It invites you to sit back and turn off your brain for a few hours, getting lost in the spectacle and the cheer faces and the spirit and all that jazz (hands).
Bring It On runs at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Canon) until June 3. Rush seats are only $25!
~ Sara Harowitz