Bring It On

Libretto by Jeff  Whittybring it on - the musical

Music by Tom Kitt &

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lyrics by Amanda Green &

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Directed & Choreographer by

Andy Blankenbuehler

Music Direction by Alex Lacamoire

Produced by Universal Pictures

At the Cadillac palace Theatre, Chicago

Hyper cheerleader routines and explosive dances with exotic lighting fuel new musical.

Based on the 2000 film, Bring It On is a fluff piece that is a commercial effort with hints of Legally Blond with the chirpy female sing style first heard in Wicked.  It is an over-produced dance and cheerleader movement extravaganza that features slurred dialogue and lyrics that can’t be understood (this show could use super titles like the opera uses).

bring it on - the musical

We see the white  cheerleaders at Truman High as they struggle for who is to be the cheerleader captain- the most important leader in the school. Ha? The evil Eva wins the post after she gets Campbell re-redistricted out of Truman High School to the ghetto school, Jackson High.

bring it on - the musical

Campbell then get the dancing hood girls to ‘buy-in’ to her scheme to ‘win’ the cheer-leading contest that, she promises,  will lead to a paid TV commercial. Ha?

bring it on - the musical

This show features squeaky female singers (think Legally Blond or Wicked) that both sound weak and render lyrics incoherent.  The highlights of this mindless dribble are contained in the exquisite lighting (by Jason Lyons) and the physical gymnastics of the dancers/cheerleaders. This show really is a dance/cheer-leading uptempo dance-athon.  The script is cliched pitting the white kids versus the kids from the hood in a competition that plays out as  a timid fable. It is not for the serious musical theatre lovers.

If this show is going to Broadway and if it expects to draw more than an audience of 12 year old girls, it best tighten the storyline and make the dialogue and lyrics understandable. The hip-hop/rap songs were equal opportunity unintelligible items with the chirpy female lyrics.  The talented dancers dominate here. And, amazingly, the opening night audience loved this show! They cheered each time a cheerleader was tossed into the air by the guys. Amazing!  I guess the popularity of cheer-leading is much more than I would of thought. But the show needs stronger singing and a more believable plot-fluff and gravity-defying choreography are not enough.  Take any young girls in your family to see this teen-friendly show, they’ll scream in joy.

Somewhat Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: March 7, 2012

For more info checkout the Bring It On page at theatreinchicago.com

At the Cadilac palace Theater, 151 W. Randolph, Chicago, tickets $18 – $85, www.broadwayinchicago.com, running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes with intermission, through March 25, 2012