BWW Reviews: BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL Opens to Cheers in Kansas City
Thrilling, exciting, one of the top feel good productions of the Kansas City theatrical season best describes Bring It On: The Musical, now playing at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. The play inspired by Bring It On the movie opened on Tuesday February 11. The touring cast performs music by Tom Kit and Lin-Manuel Miranda, lyrics by Amanda Green and Lin-Manuel Miranda and libretto by Jeff Whitty. Andy Blankenbuehler directs and choreographs this high energy and entertaining spectacle.
The Tony nominee for Best Musical combines fantastic vocals and exciting aerobatics to tell the tale of friendship, deceit, purpose, and compassion. Half of the touring cast comes from theatrical backgrounds while the other half comes from competitive cheer leading backgrounds.
The scenery is modest yet functional and videos that play on the back wall of the stage set the mood and locale of the scenes. Patrons should take notice of the videos as they supply unexpected spots of humor. The costumes, designed by Andrea Lauer, establish the difference of social classes, from cheerleading outfits that appear tailored and expensive to those of Jackson High School that look functional, but off the rack.
The choreography and highflying feats of acrobatics is breath taking, causing gasps to generate from the audience as cheerleaders are tossed high into the air. At times, there is so much action going on simultaneously it is difficult to decide where to look on stage. Instinctively the attention of the audience shifts to the cheer-clad person that was just pitched into the air.
Nadia Vynnytsky plays Campbell, the captain of the cheer squad who must attend a different high school due to redistricting. The always-popular Campbell suddenly finds herself at the bottom of the social ladder, with poor prospects of climbing up. Nadia has a marvelous voice and performed the dance and cheerleading numbers flawlessly. She previously performed with the national and international touring companies of Shrek, Legally Blonde, and Catch Me If You Can.
Zuri Washington passionately performs as the streetwise Danielle, the leader of the Jackson crew. She brings a demeanor to her character that fits perfectly into the environment of the school. Her voice was magnificent and blended splendidly with Vynnystsky.
Bring It On: The Musical conveys thoughts of the ugly duckling turning into a swan as Bridgett, played by Maisie Salinger, climbs out of the parrot costume of Truman High and steps into the role of being a part of the popular clique. Who could discern that the character who displayed awkwardness and lack of vocal talent would transform into a confident, talented vocalist and dancer?
Bring It On: The Musical continues at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts through Sunday February 16. Purchase tickets by calling 816-994-7228, visiting the Theater League of Kansas City website at the Kauffman Center box office at 1601 Broadway. Photos courtesy of the Theater League of Kansas City.