One of the snarkiest, bitchiest and altogether most high kicking-est productions of recent years Bring It On is the cult chick flick turned applauded Broadway musical that bring gymnastics and cheer onto the stage. Here’s how it became a phenomenon…
In the turn of the millennium, Peyton Reed signed up to direct his first feature film, a whip-sharp comedy for, and about teenage girls. Focusing on two rival schools, whose cheer squads are both preparing to battle it out in the upcoming cheerleading competitions, it is a movie of tenacity, perseverance and great humour!
Upon release the movie scored positive reviews and decent numbers at the box office. Despite being a high school movie people were pleasantly surprised by the intelligent, sassy, and fresh nature of the flick while still being fluffy, and silly.
Making Kirsten Dunst a household name, and kickstarting the careers of Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradford, and Gabrielle Union – the film soon became a cult classic among viewers marking the ‘perfect’ cheerleading movie.
Thanks to the immense success of the movie, both financially and culturally production Beacon Pictures of course commissioned a sequel – or four! Bring It On Again saw the central blonde character form her own misfit cheer squad due to being mistreated on the popular college team. Bring It On: All or Nothing sees its central blonde character moving to a predominantly non-white area, and struggling to integrate with her new cheer squad. Bring It On: In It to Win It sees its two leading blonde characters battle it out at summer camp, while Bring It On: Fight to the Finish is basically number 2 and 3 combined but starring Christina Milian.
The direct-to-video sequels added very little to the overall scope of the franchise story, character, or writing-wise, but provided a wealth of new cheers, competitions, and performances to keep viewers semi-entertained.
While the stage show features an original story, and characters, several elements from all films in the series are present such as Campbell being transferred to an ‘ethnic’ school district, the creation of a new cheer squad of misfits, and turning dancers into cheerleaders.
In 2010 Tony award-winning Jeff Whitty wrote a “free adaptation” of the popular film series into an original story, ready for the stage. The highly celebrated Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the lyrics alongside Amanda Green, and produced the music with Tom Kitt for the work.
For the heavy gymnastic numbers Andy Blankenbuehler was hired as both choreographer and director, for which his work was later nominated for a Tony, and won both the Atlanta Theater Fan Award and Suzi Bass Award.
The show made its premiere at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 2011 before touring the US. The tour saw a healthy amount of interaction with the public holding cheer and dance competitions during the proceedings, with celebrity hosts.
Following 6 months touring, the production finally premiered on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on July 12, 2012 starring the tour cast. Due to popular demand the production extended its run on Broadway, closing after 21 previews and 173 performances.
Bring It On is the first Broadway musical to feature a transgender high school character, La Cienega, who is a popular member of the cheer squad. “In creating a universe of characters, I always try to find as many differing perspectives as possible, because that’s where comedy comes from most often,” says Bring It On book writer Jeff Whitty.
The musical received overwhelmingly positive reviews, with the dance numbers being especially praised. Overall the show is a fun, high-energy spectacle that features witty dialogue, clever songs and impressive visuals.
While it is by no means rushing to be the next Les Mis, or Lion King it is a show to watch, and enjoy.
- Act I
- “Overture” – Company
- “What I Was Born to Do” – Campbell, Skylar, Kylar, Steven, Bridget and Company
- “Tryouts” – Skylar
- “One Perfect Moment” – Campbell
- “The Girl in the Stands” – Eva
- “What I Was Born to Do” (Reprise) – Campbell, Skylar, Kylar, Eva and Company
- “One Perfect Moment” (Reprise) – Campbell, Skylar, Kylar, Eva and Company
- “Welcome to Jackson” – Company
- “Do Your Own Thing” – Campbell, Bridget, Twig, Randall, Cameron, Danielle and Company
- “We Ain’t No Cheerleaders” – Danielle, Nautica and La Cienega
- “Friday Night, Jackson” – Cameron, Twig, Danielle, Randall and Company
- “Something Isn’t Right Here” – Campbell, Eva, Steven, Skylar and Kylar
- “Bring It On” – Campbell and Company
- Act II
- “It’s All Happening” – Campbell, Danielle, Twig, Cameron, Nautica, La Cienega and Company
- “Better” – Skylar, Kylar, Eva, and Steven
- “It Ain’t No Thing” – Bridget, Nautica, La Cienega and Company
- “What Was I Thinking?” – Campbell
- “Enjoy the Trip” – Campbell and Randall
- “Killer Instinct” – Eva, Kylar, Skylar and Company
- “We’re Not Done” – Danielle and Campbell
- “Legendary” – Company
- “Eva’s Rant” – Eva
- “Cross the Line” – Company
- “I Got You” – Company