Monday, March 5, 2012

Can They Bring It?

Bring it On: The Musical will have to battle low expectations wherever it goes. That has nothing to do with the show itself, but stems from the fact that it is based on the movie of the same name. And though the movie has built a cult following, nobody would argue with the notion that the film is not exactly classy fare.

Luckily for the musical, the fact that the movie and show follow two rival cheer squads is the extent of the similarities. Bring it On: The Musical follows the travails of cheer captain Campbell Davis when she is uprooted from the life she knows and forced to transfer to another school - one that does not have a cheer squad. The school redistricting is the evil plot of a fellow cheerleader who is out to take Campbell down.

So you can see that the show cannot rely on the plot to draw a crowd. Instead, all of the fun is in watching the spectacular aerial stunts performed on stage. The cast, made up of both musical theater and cheer professionals, performs all of the high flying acrobatics with what appears to be great ease but is of course the result of hours of training.

The music is forgettable largely because it is not of the traditional musical style. Instead it is similar to the stream of consciousness style that harkens back to Stephen Sondheim's Company and was brought to the fore more recently in Jonathan Larson's Rent.The music is not terrible, but nobody was humming any of the songs on the way out of the theater; the music is simply not conducive to that.

The number that came the closest to bringing down the house was the beauty comes in all shapes and sizes anthem "It Ain't No Thing" performed by Ryann Redmond, Ariana DeBose, and Gregory Haney. In fact, Redmond, in the comic relief role, nearly stole the show from leads Taylor Louderman and Adrienne Warren. While both leads were adept singers and performers, Redmond seemed to dive into her role with more enthusiasm. The ensemble, while very strong choreographically, revealed in several numbers that not all of the members are professional singers.
Redmond and Louderman

Bring it On: The Musical
has not made it to Broadway yet and though there are a few kinks to iron out, the show fits in well with the many of the musicals showing on the Great White Way. There is little doubt that Bring it On will flip, jump, and cheer its' way to 42nd Street.

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