Bring It On

Original Broadway Cast, 2012 (Backlot Music) 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) If you love Lin-Manuel Miranda’s score for In the Heights, you’ll find lots of pleasures in Bring It On. This musical adaptation of a 2000 film about cheerleaders is copiously sprinkled with Miranda emeralds. About two thirds of the songs are by Tom Kitt and Amanda Green, writing in a lively, poppish vein that sounds familiar within the high school musical genre (though buoyantly orchestrated by Kitt and Alex Lacamoire), but the remaining numbers by Miranda ignite on a different level. Though too many of his songs here may build just like In The Heights‘ “96,000” — this show doesn’t celebrate his full range as a composer — they’re fun individually, and “It’s All Happening,” the Act II opener, is as explosive and ebullient as anything Miranda has written. The centerpiece of that song is a cheeky rap for Twig (Nick Womack), in a style reminiscent of In the Heights‘ Sonny, arguing for the virtues of boys joining the cheerleading team. But even though there are deeper themes like friendship across differences and finding your squad, most of the songs are really just about cheerleading, a topic that can only animate so many distinct musical numbers. If the well of inspiration eventually runs dry, that’s no fault of the electric cast, led by Taylor Louderman and Adrienne Warren as reluctant teammates-turned-besties. There is also a delightful early performance from Ariana DeBose. — Dan Rubins