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Bring It On: The Musical is a musical with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt and Amanda Green and book by Jeff Whitty. The story is loosely based on the 2000 film of the same name and focuses on the competitive world of cheerleading and over-the-top team rivalries.
Bring It On: The Musical premiered at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia in January 2011. The cast included Amanda Lea LaVergne as Campbell, Adrienne Warren as Danielle, Nick Blaemire as Randall, Ryann Redmond as Bridget, and "award-winning competitive cheerleaders from across the country". A national tour of the musical played in major U.S. cities from November 2011 to June 2012.
The touring stage production began previews on Broadway in July 2012 at the St. James Theatre, before opening for a limited engagement on August 1, 2012 to December 30, 2012.
On her last day of junior year, Campbell Davis prays to be named captain of the Truman High School cheerleading squad ("What I Was Born To Do"). She gets the job, and her first duty is to replace the graduating members. Her friend Skylar looks forward to "Tryouts" ("Tryouts"). Nerdy, chubby outcast Bridget doesn't make the cut, but Campbell takes a risk on adorable freshman Eva. As the rest of the squad heads off to celebrate, Campbell reflects on the difficulties to come, and dreams of "One Perfect Moment" ("One Perfect Moment").
At summer Cheer Camp, Eva's nervousness threatens the squad's chance to win the coveted Spirit Stick, an honor that indicates an upcoming Nationals win. To boost Eva's confidence, Campbell takes her aside and names her the Sophomore Spirit Leader – which means if Campbell were to lose her position, Eva would be third in the "line of succession" after Skylar and Kylar. After Campbell lifts Eva's spirits, Truman triumphs and celebrates their Spirit Stick win. Two weeks before the end of summer Campbell receives a letter with terrible news: she's been redistricted to inner-city Jackson High School. A horrified Kylar informs her that "they don't even have a squad!" Despite her attempts to stay at Truman, Campbell's fate is sealed. Her dream is gone. Even her puppy-dog boyfriend Steven cannot console her.
Campbell arrives ("Welcome to Jackson") and discovers that Bridget has been redistricted as well. Intimidated and amazed, the pair is wowed by an impromptu performance by Jackson's resident dance crew ("Do Your Own Thing"). Campbell and Bridget meet the Queen Bees of Jackson High: Nautica, La Cienega and the head of the crew, Danielle. Bridget is an unexpected hit at Jackson – especially with the hormonal Twig who loves her curves. Campbell offers her talents to the crew, but a verbal slip-up turns the Jackson women against her. Danielle firmly explains that "We Ain't No Cheerleaders" – and lets Bridget in the crew.
Later, Bridget consoles a discouraged Campbell and takes her to the Burger Pagoda where Danielle works. Campbell tries to make amends, but Danielle is unmoved. As she's leaving the Pagoda, Campbell confronts a pair of entitled rich girls harassing Danielle. Impressed and amused by Campbell's fire, Danielle reconsiders and offers Campbell a one-time chance to dance with the crew, dressed in an old leprechaun mascot suit ("Friday Night, Jackson"). After a shaky start, Campbell kills it as the leprechaun – and catches the eye of Randall, the smooth school D.J. An impressed Danielle gives Campbell an official spot on the Jackson crew.
Later that night, Skylar and Kylar share shocking news, a slip-up in Skylar's grades means she can't be captain, and Kylar has contracted mono. By the rules of succession, Eva is now captain. Campbell suspects that "Something Isn't Right Here" – and a visit to Eva's house seems to confirm her suspicions. Eva has taken on Campbell's appearance, and Campbell discovers Steven 'studying' there as well. Unconvinced by their explanations, Campbell breaks up with Steven and feverishly goes to Skylar and Kylar, who accuse her of paranoia and jealousy. Assessing the situation with Bridget, Campbell learns that Eva's mother is on the school board that decided on the redistricting. Outraged and certain of a conspiracy, Campbell decides to get Eva back by assembling a squad at Jackson and crushing her at Nationals. It's time to "Bring it On".
Campbell approaches a reluctant Danielle about creating a cheerleading squad at Jackson. When Campbell reveals that a Nationals win includes college scholarships for each winning member and a chance to be on live television, Danielle agrees to join her and assemble a squad ("It's All Happening"). Weeks later at the Regional Competition, Truman watches Jackson perform. While Eva, Steven, and Kylar are wowed, Skylar is smugly convinced that Truman is "Better". Though Jackson wins enough points for a Nationals slot, they take second to Truman.
Back at school, Twig asks Bridget on a date and Bridget shyly declines. This calls for an intervention from Nautica and La Cienega, who argue that "It Ain't No Thing" when it comes to her insecurities. Her self- esteem boosted, Bridget chases after Twig. Randall asks Campbell on a picnic date on the cliffs above their town. She happily accepts, but moments later runs into a furious Jackson crew. Danielle has discovered that Campbell lied about the college scholarships as a Nationals prize. Danielle breaks up the squad. It's over, and so is their friendship.
Disconsolate and disgusted with herself, Campbell shows up for the date with Randall. After some pointed and playful ribbing, he encourages her to look at life as long and to "Enjoy The Trip". In a private moment, having heard the news of Campbell's fall, Eva celebrates the "Killer Instinct" she showed in creating her path to captain.
At Jackson, Bridget sports a hickey courtesy of her new boyfriend Twig. Campbell pulls Danielle aside and offers a profuse, pained apology. Danielle is still hurt by the lie, but acknowledges the joy their work brought her. Campbell explains that the experience changed her to the point where she no longer felt any ambition to go to Nationals – their friendship should have always been paramount. Despite her conflicting feelings, Danielle decides to continue working together ("We're Not Done"). Nationals is back on.
At Nationals, Truman gives a "Legendary" performance of their routine. As the squad recovers, Eva runs into Campbell – Jackson is on deck to perform. Shocked at Campbell's presence, Eva tries to undermine her confidence. Eva's efforts escalate as the rest of Jackson looks on. The conversation culminates with "Eva's Rant" as she reveals her villainous behavior.
Now on the mat, Jackson offers an exuberant, mind-blowing routine that breaks the rules of cheerleading, but inspires wild cheering from the arena ("Cross The Line"). The dream of victory, though, is quickly dashed. Truman wins Nationals. Jackson doesn't even place.
Randall surprises Campbell, offering her his Pinewood Derby trophy from Cub Scouts, which he has repurposed with a Sharpie to credit her with "First place for everything that matters." With Eva gone, the Truman and Jackson squads celebrate their true victory: friendship ("I Got You").
Principal roles and cast
† Does not appear on the cast recording.
The show premiered at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 2011, running until February 20, 2011. The production was directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, with set design by David Korins, costume design by Andrea Lauer, lighting design by Jason Lyons and sound design by Brian Ronan. The original cast featured Amanda LaVergne as Campbell, Adrienne Warren as Danielle and Nick Blaemire as Randall, as well as many cheerleaders from across the country who were selected in collaboration with Varsity.
National tour (2011)
After the Atlanta engagement, the musical embarked on a national tour, starting at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles in November 2011. New cast members for the tour were Taylor Louderman as Campbell, Neil Haskell as Steven, Nick Womack as Twig, Elle McLemore as Eva, and Jason Gotay as Randall.
The cast of the show took part in a celebration to kick off the start of the national tour, featuring performances from the show as well as cheer and dance squads from across the country taking part in a competition. Guest hosts for the celebration included KIIS FM's JoJo (not the pop star who starred in Aquamarine), Telemundo's Jorge Bernal and Hannah McIalwain of The Glee Project.
After travelling to Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Houston, and Toronto, the tour closed on June 2, 2012.
The touring stage production premiered on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on July 12, 2012 in previews and officially opened on August 1, 2012 for a limited engagement to October 7, 2012. The tour cast appeared in the Broadway production.
The production extended its run on Broadway until December 30, 2012, closing after 21 previews and 173 performances.
Non-Equity Tour (2014)
A Non-Equity National / International tour previewed in New Haven, Connecticut at the Shubert Theatre from January 16 to 18, 2014 and opened in Macon, Georgia at the Grand Opera House on January 21, 2014, and ended in Tokyo, from July 9 to 27, 2014. The tour featured Nadia Vynnytsky and Zuri Washington.
The musical received positive reviews, with the dance numbers being praised. The New York Times reviewer wrote that the opening number of the Ahmanson Theatre production "truly dazzles" and noted the cast's "impressive gymnastic prowess". The News Observer review praised the cast of the musical and called the production a "high-energy stage spectacle". The Charlotte Observer review noted the show's "witty dialogue, zingily clever songs and inventive visuals" and praised the "high-energy" performances by the cast.
The Huffington Post positively reviewed the show, writing that it had been "a long time since [he] enjoyed a new musical quite as much as Bring It On: The Musical ". The review praised the musical's set and "sassy" libretto. Entertainment Weekly gave a more mixed review of the musical, stating that while the performances are energetic, "none are particularly memorable". The reviewer did however note that the "acrobatic cast impressively manage to tumble, dance, and sing at the same time" and gave a "special nod" to Gregory Haney.
In his review of the Broadway production, Charles Isherwood of The New York Times wrote: "The cast of this alternately snarky and sentimental show about rival high school cheer squads often seems to be in constant motion, tumbling and flipping across the stage in elaborate routines that culminate in towering formations of human pyramids.... While it has its moments of memorable wit and some appealing rhythmic Broadway-pop songs, Bring It On is by no means in the same league as those musicals [Next to Normal and In the Heights], and has the feel of a daffy lark embarked upon as a summer-vacation goof."
Awards and nominations
Atlanta premiere production
Original Broadway production
In other media
On June 19, 2012 the cast performed "It's All Happening" and "It Ain't No Thing" on The Today Show. The company performed "I Got You" in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22, 2012 and "Cross the Line" on America's Got Talent in August 2012.
On April 24, 2012 Sh-K-Boom Records released a three-song sampler from the national tour of the musical, including the songs "It's All Happening", "It Ain't No Thing" and "Enjoy the Trip". A full cast recording was released digitally on September 25, 2012. A CD was on sale in stores as of October 16, 2012.
Internet Broadway Database
Bring It On: The Musical