by: Sandi Durell
This is definitely for the teens who aspire to be athletic superiors as gymnists, acrobats, cheerleaders, stunt guys and gals. Inspired by the 2000 Kirsten Dunst film and competition in the cheerleading ranks, this touring show resounds with the passion of what’s upper most in the hearts and minds of young white and privileged upper crust high school preppies who have a dream of winning.
Campbell maintains her cool and after passing the tests becomes friends with the dance crew’s girl leader beauty Danielle (Adrienne Warren), and her sidekicks Nautica (Ariana DeBose) and cross-dressing La Cienega (a muscular hunk in cutie gym clothes,Gregory Haney), dangling a carrot as a way out of the ghetto into reality TV stardom as a ruse by competing and winning the cheerleader competition against Truman High. Meanwhile, Campbell has a new boyfriend at Jackson High, Randall (Jason Gotay), more of an intellectual type, and Eva’s secret and, soon to be revealed killer instinct, comes full circle as the teams vie for position.
There are lessons learned about holding to your dreams, bonds of friendship, the emotions, fears, triumphs and good vs. evil. Sometimes it’s just not about winning a trophy.
The soaring dance acrobatics, flips, high-flying stunts and maneuvers (to the credit of the amazing directing and choreographic hand of Andy Blankenbuehler) are mesmerizing. The music is a combination of pop, rock, R & B, hip hop, Broadway and rap all to the credit of music byTom Kitt (Next to Normal) and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights) and Amanda Green (High Fidelity), with libretto by Jeff Whitty. Set design is by David Korins, lighting Jason Lynne, sound Brian Roman, Video Jeff Sugg with spiffy costumes by Andrea Lauer.
In a nutshell, this is an irresistible high school musical for the entire family.
The cast is spectacularly talented in every way, the music right on. “Bring It On” should continue to tour for quite a while. Catch it on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on West 44th Street until October 7th. Running time 2 hrs. 15 min.
*Photo Joan Marcus