There is one word to describe “Bring it On – The Musical” and that is energy. Opening last week at the Ahmanson Theatre and continuing through Dec. 10, the 2000 film starring Kirsten Dunst inspired the production.
From the time the lights are brought up through curtain call, this cast never stops.
I must admit this is not my favorite genre – a musical – and especially a cheerleading musical. I expected a lot of happy peppy, cheery mixed with teen drama, and there was that, but there was also a constant amazement. Rarely do audiences hold their breath and grab their armrests during a musical, but with this production that is exactly what you do.
I believe that cheerleaders, and dancers, are athletes. Their workouts and stamina can match that of any football or basketball player. And I defy anyone who sees this play to argue otherwise. Throughout the production cheerleader/actors fly high above stage floor. There are real cheerleaders and cheer instructors in the cast, which blends reality of the sport with the musical comedy background.
The plot is typical teen drama/angst. A perfect girl in a perfect school with a perfect life is thrown into a reality so far removed from her life thus far that she must adapt or fail. And of course for a cheer captain to fail is impossible. Along the way she discovers what true friendship means, and life really is all about whom you cheer with.
The playwright took a look at this time of life and had fun with it. The girl who is the self-centered cheerleader is really a self-centered cheerleader and is completely okay with that.
At some point in our lives we have all met, or may have been, the wanna-be, the outsider, the cheer captain, the poet/musician, the tough girl or the most popular girl in school. All of these characters, exaggerated for the stage, we find are still a part of growing up.
Taylor Louderman who plays the cheer captain Campbell, and Adrienne Warren as Danielle, the girl from the tough school, work the stage as a team. Kate Rockwell as Skylar, a perfectly happy self-centered teen, is perfection. You can’t even hate her she is so honest. Ryann Redmond as Bridget undergoes a transformation from ugly duckling (as the school’s mascot parrot in this case), to hip/hop diva.
The play is fun. And for those who have teenage daughters, bring them.
“Bring It On – The Musical” libretto was written by Jeff Whitty, music by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda and lyrics by Amanda Green and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It was directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler.
The production runs now through Dec. 10 at the Ahmanson Theatre. For tickets, go to www.centertheatregroup.org/theatres/ahmanson or contact (213) 628-2772.