Bring it On The Musical has opened in Melbourne for its return season, and once again, it’s all happening!
After extended premiere season in 2018 which scored them three Green Room Award nominations, Bring It On The Musical, inspired by the cult classic movie of the same name, returns with a stellar cast both old and new, who are pumped for their national tour.
Friday night saw us tread the red carpet in excitement, ready for this high energy, youthful musical. With Music by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and lyrics by Amanda Green and Lin-Manuel Miranda, this production is an explosion of sound, lights, passion, and acrobatics that has to be seen to be believed!
In a rare moment, before the show we met Director Alister Smith. He spoke to inform us that in the lead up to opening they had the entire lead cast off sick, with second covers appearing in the previews, but they were thrilled to have the entire original line up back in time for opening.
Bring It On: The Musical tells the story of Campbell Davis, a young cheerleader who we meet on the last day of school, praying to be named the next Cheerleading Captain at Truman High School. Campbell, at that very moment, seems to have it all, until she is suddenly and mysteriously reassigned to another school; the inner-city Jackson High, where her worst nightmare comes true, and she discovers they don’t have a cheerleading squad! Campbell soon befriends some girls on the school dance squad and despite their obvious differences, soon leads them to the National Cheerleading Championships.
Kirby Burgess brings us the lead character of Campbell, and what a powerhouse she is! This triple threat sings like her life depends it and can dance like nothing else. Add to that some sensational acrobatics and she is a pure star. She has incredible chemistry with her onstage boyfriend Randall (Thomas McGuane), and she had the audience in the palm of her hand from the second she stepped on stage, however ‘One Perfect Moment’ in Act One is a truly stunning. Burgess is barely off stage in this incredibly demanding role, yet not once faltered, shining right through until her final bow.
McGuane returns to the cast in the role of Randall, who attends Jackson High and catches Campbell’s eye. With incredible stage presence, he is positively swoon-worthy, with ‘Enjoy the Trip’ really showcasing his vocals, sensitivity and sincerity.
The Dance Sqaud at Jackson High comprises of Leader Danielle (new cast member Jasmine Smith), Nautica (Samantha Bruzesse) and La Cieniga (Marty Alix) who are both returning to their roles. All three are a force to be reckoned with, working together in incredible harmony, amazing timing and impressive vocals. Smith is a powerful presence as tough as nails Danielle, who just wants to work hard to get into College. Her vocals were strong, and her dancing was mesmerizing. However, Alix and Bruzesse are showcased to perfection and almost steal the show in ‘It Ain’t No Thing’, receiving thunderous applause and hoots and hollers from the enthusiastic audience for this amusing and uplifting ode to self-love.
Without a doubt, the biggest gift that Bring It On The Musical gives us in this reincarnation is Baylie Carson, who plays Bridget, former dorky Mascot for the Truman High Cheerleading team, who is also “redistricted” alongside Campbell. We see Bridget blossom in her new environment and bloom into a young woman with confidence, sex appeal and some serious moves! Carson plays this role to absolute perfection, and every single person in the audience fell in love with her. Her vocals were a revelation, bringing a very different take to Bridget that was just divine. Bravo on an absolutely breathtaking performance.
Daniele Buatti bought the music to life with real skill. The band were hot, and really paid homage to Miranda’s signature style and sound. Although at times the sound balance between the band and the vocals was out, causing us to miss lines and vocals, the band had everyone tapping feet and clapping along, and wishing we could rap just a little.
The choreography for this production is absolutely sensational, lead by Michael Ralph, who won the Greenroom Award for his choreography for the 2018 production, and assisted by Cheerleading Coach Natalie Commons, every single dance and cheer number is an absolute delight. The last 10 minutes of the show sees the ridiculously fit cast perform two massive numbers back to back, featuring incredible dance moves, stunning lines and cheerleading throws and flips where some of the girls disappear into the air for what seems like minutes. I had tears of delight during ‘Cross the Line’, the choreography was just simply stunning.
All in all, this is a production not to be missed. Lighthearted, witty, hilarious and just downright entertaining, it really does have something for everyone and you will leave with a grin so big it hurts! Don’t miss this short season, in Melbourne until July 27 before moving to Perth and then Sydney. Tickets are available from bringitonthemusical.com.au
Photo credit: Nico Keenan