Unlike many recent movies-made-musicals, “Bring It On” is less a simple recreation of the 2000 film, and more a dynamic combination of the first and second movies, a collaboration that is made stronger by a creative and edgy libretto by Jeff Whitty, a tag-teamed score by Tony-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda and Pulitzer-Prize winner Tom Kitt, and lyrics by Amanda Green.
“Bring It On” the musical focuses on a power struggle between cheerleading pep and high school popularity, culminating in a high-energy cheerleading competition. The show tells the story of Campbell (the equivalent of Kirsten Dunst’s movie role), who is head cheerleader at the wealthy Truman High, who is forced to transfer to Jackson High, a school that doesn’t even have a cheerleading squad. Upon her arrival at Jackson, Campbell’s mission is clear: to turn the popular Danielle’s dance crew team into a competitive cheer squad, making new friends (and enemies), all while trying to fit in at her new school.
Combined with the fantastic score, the main entertainment comes in the choreography. Director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler used gymnastics and acrobatics to claim the audience’s attention. According to the New York Times, the show’s primary delights 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.”
“Bring It On” has the stereotypical girl-meets-boy story, complete with a love duet from Campbell and her new boyfriend Randall. “Like most entertainments about the trials and triumphs of the teenage years, ‘Bring It On’ has as much sap as it does pep in its DNA,” said Charles Isherwood of the New York Times.
“Bring It On” opened its national tour in 2011 at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, where it ran through mid-December. Closely following its Los Angeles production, the show is on its national tour, with upcoming performances in Chicago, St. Louis, Charlotte, Durham, Providence and Toronto.
Also making its way to the Great White Way is a stage adaptation of the popular 1978 film “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” Though no production dates or cast information has been released yet, anticipation of the upcoming musical is high. Based on the film by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, and Chris Miller, Universal Pictures Stage Productions hopes its toga party will be as prosperous on Broadway as it was on the big screen, where it grossed $141 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“Animal House: The Musical,” set in the 1960s, tells the story of the Delta Chi Fraternity at Faber College and the members’ attempts to save their name in the eyes of the college dean, who wishes to expel them from campus based on their multiple rule violations and poor grades. In response, the boys launch a counter-attack by sabotaging the school’s homecoming parade.
Universal has had much success in the past with its Broadway productions, including “Wicked” and “Billy Elliot: The Musical.”
With a libretto by Michael Mitnick, an original score by the Barenaked Ladies, and direction and choreography by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, “Animal House” has all the makings of a successful Broadway production.