“Bring It On: The Musical” tumbles into the Ahmanson Theatre in a high energy, action-packed conglomeration of cheerleading, gymnastics, hip hop music, high school cliques, and pubescent life lessons.
It’s a high school comedy to rival the cult classics. Think “Glee” on steroids, sprinkle with one part “Clueless” and two parts “Mean Girls,” then add a dash of “Drop Dead Gorgeous” when the plot takes a dark, unsuspecting twist just before intermission.
The show is packed from top to bottom with pop culture references — watch closely and you might even catch an ode to “The Matrix.”
Teaming with humor for both the younger crowd and the older set, “Bring It On” pays homage to the competitive sport of cheerleading, while taking the occasional self-deprecating swipe at its enthusiasts.
The story pits upper crust Truman High School against cross-town lower-income Jackson High in the cheerleading nationals. But the cheer competition is, in reality, a backdrop for a bitter personal rivalry that sends whitebread Campbell (Taylor Louderman) to the hardened campus of Jackson, and on to a hard fought journey that culminates in a measure of self-realization — with a little help from her newfound friends.
The ensemble cast wows with high-flying stunts and across the floor flips, while the principal players move the story along at an even clip.
Louderman as Campbell and Adrienne Warren as Danielle form a convincing alliance to lead their Jackson crew, but it’s Ryann Redmond as oddball Bridget, rapping about her extra junk in the trunk, and Elle McLemore as dubiously evil Eva, belting about her killer instinct, who steal the show with a little extra sweat.
The stage production readily holds its own against its film series predecessors. Behind the production are some of the same creative minds behind “Avenue Q” (Jeff Whitty), “In The Heights” (Andy Blankenbuehler and Lin-Manuel Miranda), and “High Fidelity” (Amanda Green), among others.
The show hovers around a PG rating, with some instances of language and less than subtle innuendos. Running time is approx. 2 hours, 30 mins.
Tip: Check in on foursquare during intermission to receive a special memento.
“Bring It On: The Musical” continues through Dec. 10 at The Ahmanson, then embarks on a national tour through spring 2012.
The Ahmanson Theatre
135 North Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012