Photo by Don Kellogg

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bring It On

Currently running its national tour, I caught Bring It On during its stop in Chicago.  Part gymnastic cheerleading spectacle, part disney-esque youthful heartwarming story, the show is certainly colorful, packed with power-pop lyrics, color, and fills the entire stage from floor to proscenium with excitement and energy.

Directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler with his signature flair, mostly dazzles.   Music and lyrics have the signature stamp of Lin-Manuel Miranda (along with Tom Kitt and Amanda Green). There's plenty of young, good-looking, energetic talent on stage.  Taylor Louderman (Campbell) according to her bio is still a student at the University of Michigan.  We'll certainly be seeing more of her on Broadway soon.  Gregory Haney (La Cienega) pulls off drag-queen hilariously while not going too far over the top (OK, it's near the top).

There was a fair amount of actual cheerleading that many people, including myself, a former cheerleader from the University of Delaware, came to see.  Pyramids, toss torches, cupies, and a plethora of high-flying, well-executed acrobatics with heart pounding music were all baked in throughout the story leading up to the final competition event.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this one probably won't come to Broadway.  Of course, I could always be wrong given the ever-changing dynamic of what plays well on the Great White Way, but my sense this is the close cousin to High School Musical is more like a movie and live entertainment event executed on stage, less like a traditional musical.   But that's OK!  Entertainment takes all forms and not every show needs to play Broadway to be considered successful.   Bring It On is likely to be one that travels the country well and attracts a much needed young audience into the theatre.  You can't fault it for being successful in doing that.  Bring It On!