If you’re looking for a theatrical night of introspection and quiet anguish, “Bring It On” is probably not going to deepen your existential wonderings.
But if you’re looking for an energetic, funny and witty musical—and yes, there are cheerleaders—you’ll love “Bring It On.” Loosely based on the 2000 movie, this Broadway-bound musical uses high school and competitive cheerleading to examine ambition, friendship, race and acceptance.
When Campbell, the perfect blonde cheerleading captain is mysteriously transferred to multi-cultural Jackson High, her world is upended. She pluckily makes friends and joins a “crew,” which (shock!) ends up going head-to-head in the national competition against her old cheerleading squad. It’s not a new story—building on the tradition of “Mean Girls,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Wicked,” but it’s well done and since we’ve all felt like an outsider, it gives the audience a lot of characters to “cheer.”
The side story of Bridget, played by talented newcomer Ryann Redmond, almost steals the show. The chubby, funny girl goes from sidekick to star (and she lands a cute boyfriend). Also of note are Kate Rockwell, who’s sarcastic Skylar is hilarious and Randall, played by Jason Gotay, whose small role adds a nice note about acceptance and tolerance.
This show includes what you’d expect in a show about cheerleading with aerial jumps and lifts adding a cool edge to the choreography. But also goes beyond with wit and humor that will keep a person who doesn’t know a split from a flip engaged. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote “In the Heights,” gives the kids at Jackson High a hip-hop energy and edge, while Amanda Green’s lyrics for Campbell and her cheerleading pals were hilariously sarcastic and captured the queen bee mentality of the suburban high school.
The show is appropriate for all ages.
Bring It On
Broadway in Chicago