“Even mocking cheerleaders cannot hide the emptiness in my soul”
Before Hamilton, but after In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda found the time to write the score to the musical adaptation of one of my legit favourite films, the Kirsten Dunst-starring high school cheerleader classic Bring It On. With Tom Kitt and Amanda Green, Miranda brings a defiantly 90s feel to the sound of Bring It On: The Musical, an interesting choice that doesn’t always necessarily work but is fascinating with it.
The story has been changed a little from the film from what I could make out but the bones of it remain the same – intense rivalries both within high school and with other high schools culminating the cheer-off of all cheer-offs at National where everyone has to ‘bring it’. And reflecting the urban diversity of this world, elements of pop, RnB and hip-hop are easily folded into the Broadway template make this modern, if weirdly dated, score.
What’s most interesting for me is the way in which you can hear elements of the Hamilton score in a kind of embryonic form in some of the numbers. The refrain of ‘It’s All Happening’ has definite pre-echoes in there and the chromatic scales in ‘Do Your Own Thing’ recall the young Philip learning French to please his father. There’s some powerful performances here from the leads Taylor Louderman, Ryann Redmond and Adrienne Warren, plus a notable turn from Elle McLemore as the villainous Eva but I don’t think it is a cast recording I’d be returning to in a hurry. (That said, I’d happily go see it on stage).