When it comes to the latest movie-turned-musical to hit the Great White Way, Bring It On: The Musical leaves us cheering. Loudly.
Coming from some of the creative minds that brought us In The Heights, Next to Normal, and Avenue Q, the story follows Campbell, a high school cheerleader who is named captain of her squad (The Truman High Buccaneers) for her senior year. However, before the year begins, the school district is rezoned, forcing her to attend Jackson High School... who doesn't have a squad. She joins the school's dance crew because it's the closest thing they have that makes her feel like she belongs. Later, as she begins to catch on to suspicious behavior going on in her former squad, she urges her new peers to start their own squad so that she can "bring it on" and get revenge at Nationals.
While the idea of a new plot isn't something we were keen to at first, Campbell and Friends really won us over with their first basket toss in the opening number. Much like Cliff Pantone in the original movie, I've seen cheerleaders at sporting events and because I'm a gay male, I've seen the Bring It On movies. Numerous times. But I've never seen REAL cheerleading when it wasn't on a movie screen, so the complexity of these routines coming to life on a stage in front of me... while those performing these stunts SANG blew me away. I have never seen anything like it.
Although with a new plot comes new characters... which means leaving our favorites behind (No LaFred!? No Big Red? No Isis?!) However, the team behind the musical did an amazing job sculpting out characters that are easy to love and root for; namely Nautica (outspoken and maybe dumb) and LaCienega (confident, sexy, and transexual) from Jackson High.
If you get a chance to see this show before it ends its limited run on Broadway October 15, do yourself a favor and run to the theater. You will NOT be disappointed. Unless, of course, you're only going so you can hear an ex band member of Blaque threaten to choke someone. "LaFreddddddddddddddd..."