Broadway Review: 'Bring It On: The Musical'
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The Crisis: Campbell learns that due to redistricting, her last year of high school will be spent at Jackson (the “scary” school with no cheerleading squad!).
The Upshot: Both Campbell and Bridget are exiled from Preppyville to hip-hop-street-savvy Jackson, where former misfit Bridget’s uniqueness rates her in-crowd status as Campbell struggles for acceptance from the “all that” dance crew (the closest thing Jackson has to a cheerleading squad) led by the outspoken Danielle (Adrienne Warren).
Cutting to the Chase: Back at Truman, “All About Eva” has sideswiped Skylar and Kylar to take over as squad captain while hitting on Steven. Two-faced doesn’t even begin to describe Eva’s unmasked villainous vibe.
Campbell, meanwhile becomes BFFs with Bridget, redeems herself in a leprechaun mascot costume featuring a surreally giant head (the show’s most bizarre must-see number), lands a new boyfriend (Randall, played by Jason Gotay), joins the crew, and convinces Danielle and her posse to “cross over”:
Campbell:? So, what we’re doing is really athletic and dance-oriented and made, you know, to get audiences all fired up. So I was thinking, you know, we could make a squad.
Danielle: Define “squad.”
Campbell: Instead of a “crew,” we’d be a “squad.” (very quietly) A cheerleading squad.
This exchange is followed by a heavy-duty persuasion embellished by some serious exaggeration.
Bottom Line: It’s Jackson vs. Truman in the Regional and National Competitions, where the big cheerleading guns come out and all is eventually resolved with the upbeat mantra: “I got you.”
Good To Know
• The musical, inspired by the 2000 film of the same name starring Kirsten Dunst, is not a carbon copy—not even close—even the characters’ names are different.
• Bring It On arrived on Broadway following a 13-city national tour.
• Due to its popularity, the musical was recently extended through Jan. 20.
• This is not a show for really young kids or super-prudes.
• Expect trash talk: mildly profane, but not excessive—everything is in keeping with the characters and settings and the language is no more offensive than contemporary kids are exposed to in school, on TV, in the movies, or online.
• Veers far more to teen romance vs. anything sexual or even suggestive.
• There is a transgender character, La Cienga (Gregory Haney), but aside from his baritone voice and masculine physique, there is no mention of his sexuality (again, no surprises here for today’s media-savvy kids, but those younger than 8 might have a question or two).
• As far as life lessons, Bring It On is terrific in terms of tolerance, winning and losing, friendship, and overcoming obstacles.
• An absolute must for kids who love cheerleading. During intermission, I met one mom who had brought her deliriously happy 11-year-old whose cheerleading age group took No. 1 in the nation.
• In terms of souvenirs, the bestseller is a twofer: official Bring It On shorts and tank top for $55.
What: Bring It On: The Musical
Where: Broadway’s St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St., Manhattan
When: Monday-Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday at 2pm and 8pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2pm and 8pm; and Sunday at 3pm.
Who: Parental discretion for the younger set (no one younger than 4 is admitted); I would suggest 9 and older, except in cases where 7- and 8 year-olds are big cheerleading buffs.
Running time: 2½ hours with one intermission.
Tickets: $39-$135; to purchase, visit the website or call 212-239-6200
Rush tickets: A limited number of $35 rush tickets (price includes $2 facility fee) is available for every performance and can be purchased the day of the performance at the Box Office only beginning at 10am. These rush tickets are available to all patrons and are cash only. There is a limit of two tickets per person.
Preview: For videos, photographs, and cast bios, visit bringitonmusical.com.