Starring Taylor Louderman, Adrienne Warren. Directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler. Ed Mirvish Theatre, to June 3.
Cheerleading isn’t usually taken seriously as a sport until a skeptic tries it and realizes how much athleticism is involved. Similarly, Bring It On: The Musical could be considered a theatrical punch line until one actually sees the talent at work. Taylor Louderman leads a young and boundlessly energetic ensemble, half actors and half professional cheerleaders, as Campbell—a high-school senior whose childhood cheerleading dreams are thwarted when a few twists of fate prevent her from being captain of the esteemed Truman High Buccaneers. She’s transplanted into urban Jackson High, where she must ditch the “squad” and join Danielle’s (Adrienne Warren) hard-hitting hip-hop “crew.” The plot is nothing close to a rehash of the 2000 Kirsten Dunst teen classic, but still has its tongue firmly in its cheek when it comes to racial tensions, the minutiae of high-school life, and contemporary online culture. The songs won’t stay with you the next day, but it’s the perfect show if you want to sit back, be dazzled by stunts, and learn how to spell things.