BWW Reviews: Put Your Hands Up for BRING IT ON in Folsom
Bring It On Folsom. Bring on the Broadway talent. Bring on the music. Bring on the cheerleaders? Yes, cheerleaders. And Friday evening's audience at the Harris Center was ready to "Bring It On" with the fairly new musical based on the popular film series.
Her senior year of high school, cheer captain Campbell (Nadia Vynnystky) gets an unwanted fresh start at a new school where she no longer fits in. With the help of friend Bridget (Maisie Salinger), she convinces a group of dancers to form a cheer squad. She and Jackson High popular girl Danielle (Zuri Washington) make friends, but Campbell's secret ambitions threaten the peace. Various supporting characters, including the struggling Bridget, Danielle's sassy crew with an attitude, and the "villain" cheerleader with a "killer instinct" (Emily Mitchell) provide doses of high school drama and comedy that most everyone can relate to.
The musical's story develops quickly and covers a lot of ground quickly. Still, given the choice to exchange all the extra dance and cheer routines for a better-written script, most of us would choose to keep what we go to see in the first place: the amazing quadruple threats on stage. Besides, as a story, the production still manages to offer great themes of friendship and self-confidence.
The cast, too, delivers great acting, outstanding vocals, energetic dancing and incredible cheer routines all in one package. Lin-Manuel Miranda's music possesses a similar sound and feel to his Tony Award winning "In the Heights," including plenty of rap, plenty of belting ballads and plenty of catchy beats, all fine-tuned to better match the world of high school.
"Bring It On" achieves new heights both in its visual feats and in its flips and tricks, some of which seem to reach to the very top of the theatre's proscenium. A small LED screen sets the scene, while high school lockers frame the hallway action and tip over to accommodate creative choreography. Technically, the show is on its game with colorful, dramatic lighting and thrilling direction that leave the audience audibly adamant with applause and hollers throughout the show.
BRING IT ON
Through Sunday Only