“Bring It On – The Musical” comes back to San Diego after popular demand. Originally playing in March 2018, all five showings had been sold out, and so now the musical has been brought back for another round. From June 15 to 23, theatre lovers of San Diego were able to see the original hit musical revamped and written by illustrious names such as Lin Manuel-Miranda, Jeff Whitty, Amanda Green, and Tom Kitt.
For those who may not be familiar with the musical version of “Bring It On,” it is almost nothing like the famous film “Bring It On” from 2000. However, in this case, that is not necessarily a bad thing. The musical encompasses a modernized and contemporary storyline bringing in characters and aspects of interest that are socially aware and relatable to its given audience today. Carolyn Agan, San Diego Musical Theatre Director, before deciding to work on the musical was under the impression that “Bring It On – The Musical” would only be another unoriginal movie musical. However, she found it to be completely different, saying that, “What I didn’t expect to find was a completely original and amazingly contemporary show about what it really means to be a teenager who is wholly dedicated to something.”
The musical depicts what it means to be a teen in high school in America, the challenges one faces and the obstacles that must be overcome to be accepted in the eyes of their fellow students. It shows the difference between what it’s like attending an upper class high school versus inner city schools and their experiences in the more unpolished and urban school setting.
Focusing on societal challenges and common issues of today, the show incorporates a diverse cast, contemporary humor, and subtle advocacy for current day issues. An example of this would be the all-original character “La Cienega”, a drag-queen, played by high school senior Joshua Foster. “La Cienega” is an obvious standout on the stage and the storyline makes sure to relate importance to her unique qualities and what it is like being different in a judgmental environment.
The musical also does a wonderful job of shedding light on the irrelevant concerns of high school students, especially those of more fortunate, upper class, Caucasian students. Relating problems in the show consist of; who the new cheerleading squad captain is, who Steven is dating, whether or not Bridgette is still a virgin, and so forth. Basically, focusing on all topics and concerns that affect students’ lives despite the fact that they do not matter on a larger scale. It is interesting to see such a story manifested before an audience, being that it is so superficial, and the main focus so immature. However, I feel the writers of the playwright mindfully created a show that is relatable even to those who feel otherwise about a cheerleader focused musical. We see these aspects made apparent in the first act of the play up until we are introduced to Jackson high school and the other side of the spectrum.
The lead character of “Bring It On – The Musical”, named “Campbell”, was played by 17-year old Junior Paityn Manor (March 2018) and 18-year-old Senior Cassie Bleher (June 2018). According to San Diego Musical Theatre, this particular role in the show had been their dream role and were very fortunate enough to acquire it. Not only did they earn this immense opportunity, but they executed their performance at levels that, from the perspective of the audience, were far from a pre-professional standpoint. I would never have assumed that the lead of the musical were but high school students, and the same assumption went for just about every other cast member in the show. Whether it is simply due to natural talent, the long hours spent in practice, or Manor/Bleher’s love for the character, they made it clear and evident that they knew their “Campbell” inside and out.
The amount of work put into blocking the numbers throughout the musical must have been grueling. We have all seen the movie “Bring It On” and just how hard it really must be being a cheerleader. Although it’s known by many that the athleticism it takes to make a great cheer squad is unbelievable. Therefore, I raise my glass to Kyle Hawk, the choreographer, who whipped these fresh, young actors into die hard competitors, and to these young creatives and dedicated actors for taking on such gripping character roles, mastering them, and becoming cheerleaders all to win nationals in just a few months’ time.
The set design for the musical gave strong impressions of the typical American high school. It was almost as if the audience was on a “High School Musical” set, which was just about perfect for “Bring It On”. Set designer, Mathys Herbert illuminated the set with backgrounds, posters, bleachers and banners of pinks, oranges, blues, and saturated tones.
By no means did the musical seem underworked or non-professional, being that the director, choreographer, and actors gave the work great attention and the devotion it deserved. Ultimately pulling off an amazing musical with some incredible young and talented actors. Act one of the musical had a whopping list of 10 numbers, and Act two, 11. Add to that the choreography, heated competition, and some killer cheer and dance routines, and you have got one special piece of entertainment.
Dates: March 23 – 25 & June 15 – 23, 2018
Official Website: www.Broadway.com/Shows/Bring-It-On-Musical
San Diego Musical Theater: www.SDMT.org
Social Media Pages:
- Facebook: @BringItOnTheMusical
- Instagram: @BringItOnTheMusical
- Facebook: @SanDiegoMusicalTheatre
- Instagram: @SDMTmusicals
- Twitter: @SDMTmusicals
- Youtube: @SanDiegoMusicalTheater
Fun Fact ALERT! Did you know the original movie was actually shot here in San Diego??!?! That’s right – right here at the SDSU campus! Hepner Hall is also home to the Rancho Carne High School Toros. You can also see parts of Hepner Quad and other campus locations!
EXTRA BONUS!! Be sure to check out our interview with Clare Kramer!
Bilal Mohamed | Writing Contributor
B.A | Comparative Literature | San Diego State University
Some may refer to a man of many interests as purely indecisive. However, Bilal Mohamed believes that possessing deep interests in many realms of work lay a varied foundation to build upon, preferring to refer to those of expounding curiosity as all but the most intriguing and experienced “Modern-Day Renaissance Men”. Bilal is man of many tastes and attractions. A passionate writer and performer, artist, poet, business co-owner, designer, skateboarder, Adventure Time advocate, lover of literature, mentor, and actor, (and is only working to keep this list growing). He spends his days spreading love in the beautiful city and soul-filling sun of San Diego, California, and studies Comparative Literature at San Diego State University with his head passionately buried in books. His open mind and positive attitude towards the world of the unexpected has paved his way to many opportunities, which is exactly how he was able to attain a position here writing for GeekRockTV and their wonderful website and blog. An open mind and an open heart is a simple cliché that he lives by, pouring himself into his work and appreciating all the blessings and beautiful people that come into his life. His plans for the future consist of publishing books and writing screenplays, acting in films and movies, making his way into the world of fine art, and accepting any new experience that bursts its way into his life. Instagram @bickness| View My Blogs
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