With visually explosive dance moves, toe-touches, back tucks, front hurdlers, vaults, lifts, pikes and pyramids, the talented cast created its own pyrotechnics on stage. Additionally, Jason Lyons’s lighting brought its own excitement to the production.
Leading the ensemble cast of newcomers were Taylor Louderman and Adrienne Warren as Campbell and Danielle, respectively. Louderman, a 20 year-old student from the University of Michigan, is solid in the role of Campbell, the girl who has everything. Warren was recently seen in the national tour of “Dreamgirls” at the Ahmanson Theatre. She portrayed Danielle, Campbell’s edgy first friend at her new school, a role she originated in “Bring It On: The Musical’s” developmental production at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.
Watch and listen for Ryann Redmond, a 2011 graduate of NYU, recreating the role of Bridget that she originated in the Alliance Theatre Production. Oddly, the show’s Playbill doesn’t include a list of musical numbers, but Redmond brings the house down with each solo she belts out. Her comedic timing is priceless. As Eva, Elle McLemore is the nasty little witch the role calls for.
Interestingly, the cast offers ongoing, syrupy tributes to Dallas icon, the late Lawrence “Herkie” Herkimer. It was Herkie who formed the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) to offer cheerleading camps, the first being in Huntsville, Texas in 1948. He also founded the first cheerleading uniform supply company.
The former SMU cheerleader distinguished himself with a signature jump, the “Herkie,” which has been a traditional, universally performed cheerleading move for decades. At once in the show, a cast member goes agog over the coveted “spirit stick,” also introduced by Herkie back in the day.
Until the late 20th century, a cheerleader was basically a bouncy person among a group of bouncy others who, at sporting events, led audiences in cheers designed to root on their team to victory, e.g. “Claw ’em, Cougars” and “Hook ’em, Horns!”
Trending in 1997, influenced by ESPN’s broadcasts of cheerleading competition, and continuing in 2000 with the release of the film, “Bring it On,” cheerleading became part of a competitive movement, with cheer squads performing and competing independently of their partner sports teams.
Also, harkening back to the original Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and their Texie Waterman choreography, and to the LA Laker Girls and Paula Abdul’s stylized choreography, dance squads joined the ranks of cheerleading squads in the contests, and that competitive movement has continued to evolve into a multimillion-dollar industry.
According to the show’s producers, 11 of the nation’s most skilled competitive cheerleaders are also featured in the ensemble. They represent combined achievements including more than 25 national and 50 team titles in gymnastics and choreography.
There’s so much sass in the fresh, smart dialogue that it’s hard to catch every quip over your own guffaws. With libretto by Tony Award-winner Jeff Whitty (“Avenue Q”) and music and lyrics are by Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In the Heights”), the story is fast-moving, with production numbers you would rather not see end.
“Bring it On: The Musical” continues at the Music Hall at Fair Park through Feb. 26, with performances Tuesdays through Sundays, 8:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. matinees on Feb. 18, 19, 23 and 25. There will be no evening performance on Sunday, February 26. Tickets are available at The Box Office, 542 Preston Royal Shopping Center, at any Ticketmaster outlet or ticketmaster.com.