Inspired by 2000’s pop culture phenomenon “Bring It On,” Tony award winner Jeff Whitty (“Avenue Q”) revives the world of competitive cheerleading in “Bring It On: The Musical.” Playing at Orpheum Theatre until Sunday, the 150-minute musical is a high-energy output of musicianship and athleticism.
It is an entrancing story of life in high school and the universal struggles that accompany those formative years, with a cheerleading twist. Friendship, betrayal and perseverance are central themes of the quest to the national championship.
After being voted captain of Truman High School’s cheerleading squad, Campbell (Nadia Vynnytsky) is unexpectedly redistricted to an inner-city school where she knows only one person from her former school, the quirky Bridget (Maisie Salinger). Vynnytsky and Salinger, embodying teenage insecurities, each bring organic performances that radiate on stage.
Danielle (Zuri Washington) and Campbell form an unlikely partnership at Jackson High School, with the shared goal of winning nationals for the newly formed cheer squad under the direction of Campbell. The complexities of female friendship are explored as Washington and Vynnytsky convincingly demonstrate the impact of camaraderie in a cheer setting.
Skylar’s (Bailey Purvis) comedic timing is impeccable. Dumb blonde jokes can fail miserably, but not with the show’s sharp writing and Purvis’s zest. The jocular stereotypes are abundant but delivered excellently by the Truman cheerleader.
The cast’s ability to balance pitch-perfect singing with cheer routines is the most impressive part of the show, while musical numbers like “Legendary” incorporate choreography with breathtaking aerial stunts. Vynnytsky even completes a costume change mid-air during one of the routines, leaving the audience flabbergasted.
While the musical is entertaining, naming the show “Bring It On” is a bit of a stretch. Aside from the competitive cheerleading aspect, it does little to measure up to the film that gave us the ever-catchy song, “We Are Cheerleaders.” Theatergoers looking to relive the story of the film will be disappointed, but its modern spin might just work for those open to experiencing a new story that holds its own. “Bring It On: The Musical” is fun, original and energetic. The captivating musical will leave you dancing in your seat and cheering for the tremendous talent on stage.
Tickets to “Bring It On: The Musical” can be purchased here.
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