Review Roundup: BRING IT ON- National Tour!
BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL is headed to Broadway following a tour that began in 2011. The show will play Broadway's St. James Theater, beginning previews on July 12th, opening August 1st and running through October 7th.
BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL is the new musical comedy that raises the stakes on over-the-top team rivalries. Set against the world of competitive cheerleading, this powerhouse new show hilariously proves that winning isn’t everything when it means losing something - or someone - you really care about. BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL combines an exciting fresh sound, gravity-defying choreography, and a thrilling story to create a total theatrical event worth cheering for.
Let's see what the critics had to say about the show while it was on tour...
Charles Isherwood, NY Times: The director and choreographer, Andy Blankenbuehler, has clearly schooled himself in the elaborate acrobatics that have become the standard for teams competing in the national finals, an event that has long been televised on ESPN. The primary delights in “Bring It On” are the breathtaking displays of human fireworks that send the show’s well-drilled dancers flying skyward, forming towering human pyramids, or tumbling across the stage backward, like electric-powered Slinkys.
Charles McNulty, LA Times: The intense cardio-dance routines, choreographed with gymnastic vim and vigor by the director, Andy Blankenbuehler, are a surefire way of raising the musical's pulse. They're also infinitely preferable to the cartwheels and somersaults of Jeff Whitty's protracted libretto (yes, they're calling this plot-heavy machine, inspired by the 2000 movie "Bring It On," written by Jessica Bendinger, a libretto). Whitty, who won a Tony for his book for "Avenue Q," is a geyser of kooky charm and clever reversals, but the story too often belabors what should be dispatched in theatrical shorthand.
Tanner Stransky, Entertainment Weekly: Bring It On: The Musical may be ready for a national tour, but seems more like junior varsity when it comes to Broadway. Some of the characters are pompom-wielding clichés, from the feisty fat girl Bridget (Ryann Redmond) to the mouthy, bitchy friend Skylar (Kate Rockwell). There are some rough patches in the overlong production: an under-the-surface swirl of racial drama that never quite gels; a pretty unnecessary love story for Campbell; and rage-filled dream interludes that are ripped from the movie but don't play so well on stage. And designer David Korins' sparse set, dominated by four moving screens, also leaves much to be desired.
Bob Verini, Variety: Judges would grant the highest scores to the score, which quickly dispels any apprehension about melding the disparate talents of "In the Heights" (Lin-Manuel Miranda), "High Fidelity" (Tom Kitt and Amanda Green) and "Next to Normal" (Kitt). Miranda surely took first chair in penning the funky rap for urban Jackson High, but the overall cohesion leaves no reason to disbelieve the team's claims of group accomplishment.
Timothy Kuryak, BroadwayWorld: The music and lyrics do the show no favors either. There is no incredible ballad, no truly incredible group number, or even a heartfelt duet. While not suggesting that a musical always has to have these things, unfortunately for something as American as cheerleading, you would think that the musical would have a number of catchy tunes that you'd remember days after you heard it. The musical styles of Kitt, who did an amazing job with "Next to Normal," and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote "In the Heights", simply don't lend themselves to this kind of subject matter. Both are highly skilled at a certain type of song, but the world of cheerleading just doesn't play to their strengths.