Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bring It On: The Musical Opens

The stage musical adaptation of the film Bring It On: The Musical opened this past Wednesday evening at the Saint James Theatre and the reviews are in.  Much like the film and its direct-to-video sequels, the musical is mostly fluff, but with a number of quality elements that make the show entertaining nonetheless.  Jeff Whitty's libretto, while as predictable, clunky, and formulaic as can be, provides a number of jokes that the tween set will thoroughly enjoy.  And, though the show itself also takes a while to build up steam, going through all the usual plot twists and turns that are to be expected, Andy Blankenbuehler's swift direction and hi octane choreography (what else would there be in a musical about cheer leading and hip hop dancing?) definitely provide mesmerizing moments that make the show somewhat engaging.  The reviews also singled out a number of individual actors as giving strong performances including Adrienne Warren, Elle McLemore and Taylor Louderman.  The score is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the show, and the most inconsistent.  Credited collaboratively to Tom Kitt (Next to Normal), Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), and Amanda Green (High Fidelity), the score consists of songs written either individually or in pairs by various combinations of the three songwriters.  Miranda's contributions were cited as being clearly the strongest, but Green's lyrics make her, according to the reviews, the one to watch out for -- definitely a bright future ahead for her.

This production is a 12-week stop on the show's national tour, which began at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre.  The show is too much fluff (and in New York too early in the season) to really be considered for any Tony Awards, except for maybe in the choreography category (Blankenbuehler is a previous winner in this category for In the Heights).  That being said, the argument could be made that the same was said about Newsies, at least in terms of fluff quality, and that show ended up with 8 Tony nominations, including best musical.

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