Filichia Features: Bring on BRING IT ON!

Filichia Features: Bring on BRING IT ON!

It's a musical about teamwork.

And a team made from 25 different troupes brought off Bring It On: The Musical.

This was "The Kansas Thespians All-State Musical" which they performed last month at the annual International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska.


BRAVO @ksthespians! They left it all on the floor! #BringItOn #ThesFest19 #mtishows

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Given that every character in Bring It On is a teen, the show is a natural for high-school students. Kids have this much life experience to be convincing in their roles.

So the cast did superbly with the book by Jeff (Avenue Q) Whitty and the score by Tom (Next to Normal) Kitt, Amanda (Hands on a Hardbody) Green  and -- yes -- Lin-Manuel Miranda. He debuted this show just before putting the finishing touches on Hamilton.

These writers didn't just put the 2000 film Bring It On on stage and add a few songs. They instead came up with new characters and a completely different story. So if you know that movie, you have delightful surprises in store.

Now that Campbell Davis is a senior, she has an excellent chance of becoming captain of Truman High School's cheerleading squad.

"I've been working for this my entire life," she says.

(Many of your freshmen, sophomore and juniors who've waited for years and have paid their dues in the ensemble will relate.)

Campbell's main competition had been Skylar, an uber-pretty young miss who knows it, and Kylar.

Is that name too similar? Kylar wasn't given it at birth, but when Skylar suggested that she change it, the kid did. That's how popular and powerful Skylar is.

Skylar truly believes she's being magnanimous when she says "Now that I'm a senior, it's time to give back." And yet Campbell is the one who means it. She takes freshman Eva under her wing. "I'm not so much your captain as I am your friend."

So she makes Eva two heartbeats away from the captainship - just behind Skylar and Kylar.

Then a redistricting sends Campbell from the suburbs to Jackson High, an inner-city school. ("They're so street," one Truman cheerleader says in semi-disgust.) Just the sight of students going through metal detectors tells Campbell that she isn't at Truman anymore.

Worse, Jackson doesn't have a cheerleading squad.

"What's the point of even having school?" Skylar says without any irony.

At first we root for Campbell because she makes the best of a bad situation. She'll try to start a squad - although that won't be easy; Jackson's students haven't time for extracurricular activities. Campbell realizes this when Danielle, who has the greatest cheerleading potential, tells her she must work after school if she has any chance of paying college tuition.

Campbell helps her in a way that Danielle never expected. Thus comes Bring It On's first important life lesson. If some people don't like you at first, over time you can change their minds about you if you do the right thing.

Alas, Campbell then does the wrong thing in order to get her squad. Thus comes Bring It On's second important life lesson. Even the nicest kids are capable of making big mistakes.

Meanwhile back at Truman, Eva has surreptitiously leapfrogged over Skylar and Kylar. Did the writers choose the name Eva as an homage to All about Eve's Eve Harrington, the grandmommy of all back-stabbers? For that's what this young miss turns out to be. In "Eva's Rant," she delivers a great lyric when confronting Campbell: "I'll have the trophy in my hands, and all you'll have is friends."

Or will Jackson defeat Truman? The writers may surprise you there, too.

The show validates teen romances. Campbell's beau Steven shows that some teen boys can be as mature as girls.

Are you inclined to dismiss a possible production in fear that your cast members can't become instant cheerleaders who can enact athletic routines? Just use choreography to suggest it. This is a musical, after all.

And if you have some extra boys (God willing!), remember that male cheerleaders populate many cheerleading squads.

Or invite your school's actual cheerleaders to perform. If they haven't the time, they still might agree to teach your cast some authentic moves. In the spirit of the show's message of teamwork and solidarity, make your team even larger.

Conservative communities should be forewarned that Bring It On does have some profanity and more allusions to sex than they might expect in a cheerleading musical. Yet the words that Whitty, Green and Miranda have delivered all sound believable for today's high school students. Frankly, Bring It On: The Musical tells the truth.

You may e-mail Peter at Check out his weekly column each Monday at and Tuesday at . He can be heard most weeks of the year on .

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