Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ON THE RADAR: Bring It On: The Musical

It is the possibilities and potential that make me really interested in Bring It On: The Musical.  Based in the same "cheer world" as the popular movie starring Kirsten Dunst (and a few straight to DVD sequels), but not taking the same story, the show is exciting for that if nothing else.  Can a movie-turned-musical really turn its back on the story?  We shall see.  But that is part of where the "possibilities" come in for me.  If they maintain the film's sharp critical comic eye and good spirit, it might just do fine.  And given the show's creative team, aka "potential," I'm willing to give this one more than the average glance and benefit of the doubt.

Unlike other shows this season, all of the team has had its share of set backs, and gambles with unsure, safe material.  When, arguably, the least known member of the team is Amanda Green, of High Fidelity on Broadway and a little ditty called "The Rose" fame, you can bet the potential is quite high.  Then there is Tony winning book writer Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q - sharp, critical comic eye, check!), Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights) providing the hip-hop, Tony and Pulitzer winner Tom Kitt (next to normal) proving the rest of the score, and Tony winner Andy Blankenbeuhler (In the Heights) at the helm, directing and choreographing.  Each are synonymous with "modern, cutting-edge Broadway."  Each has taken chances - some failures - 13, High Fidelity, neither a shameful mess - and each has taken huge risks in pushing the limits, bringing minority culture to the masses and introducing the world to full puppet nudity and found great success - 2 Tony winning Best Musicals and only the 8th musical to win the Pulitzer Prize.  In short, if you are going to take a risk with changing a tried and true formula, bring it fully into the 21st century and make it move like no other show before it, they are your dream team.

The show opened this past week at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre to strong and constructive reviews, with most predicting a long life on Broadway.  Comparisons, not to the movie, but to A Chorus Line, All About Eve and even West Side Story seem to bode well for the piece as well.  (For some fun and interesting background on the making of the show, look up Alliance Theatre Bring It On the musical on YouTube.

I hope the show does make it.  And without too much hoopla - just before previews the lead actress had to be replaced due to injury, and last Wednesday's performance had to be cancelled due to an actor's strained muscle and a minor sprain.  Let's hope calmer heads prevail with this show, despite its teen angst story and injury potential - and there are even professional cheerleaders in cast who also get injured.  Bring It On: The Musical will definitely have the actors flying about the stage - not a wire in sight - which should be exciting and thrilling to watch.  Like I said, please let calmer heads prevail, and let's cheer this one on!


(Photos by Greg Mooney)

What do you think?  Potentially good stuff?  Leave your thoughts here, email me at or Tweet me!

1 comment:

  1. I got this comment emailed to me from Londynow:

    While cheerleading doesn't interest me, I'd be willing to see just about anything this team put together. I mean, ITH and N2N creatives joining forces? That's mindblowingly fantastic. I realize that a "dream team" doesn't guarantee success (see Women on the Verge, which I didn't think was awful but could have been/should have been a lot better), but it sounds like they're off to a good start. And I'm all in favor of trying something new on the stage. I hope I'll have the opportunity to see this.

    Thanks for writing in, L!


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