by Anna DeMino of Connelly School of the Holy Child
Performing cheer stunts taught in a few boot camps before the show dates and being able to make the audience erupt in laughter through great comedic timing among many of the actors are just some reasons “You might as well enjoy the trip,” to Clarksburg High School’s production of Bring It On: The Musical.
Bring It On: The Musical is loosely based on the 2000 film written by Jessica Bendinger and premiered in 2011 with musical compositions by Lin Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt. The story follows the life of Campbell, a devoted cheerleader, who has the chance to prove herself as cheer captain at Truman High School. All her dreams seem to be coming true when suddenly she gets redistricted to Jackson High School for her senior year. While trying to blend in, Campbell meets the dance crew and wants to help transform this “crew” into a cheer squad to fulfill her dreams of winning the National Championships. This musical highlights the importance of true friendship and the idea that not everything is about winning.
Clarksburg High School challenged themselves by attempting a dance and cheer heavy show and portrayed wonderful results. Every member of both cheer squads gave the choreography their all and wowed the crowd with the advanced stunts they had to perform since they were not all experienced cheerleaders.
Campbell (Ydiany Quiroz) serenaded the audience with beautiful vocals in “One Perfect Moment”, and her other songs. Her confidence was consistent throughout the show and was especially evident in “Friday Night Jackson” as she danced her heart out in a leprechaun suit. However, outstanding vocals and confidence did not stop at Campbell, Randall (Ricky Cardenas) and Danielle (Renee Agben) had plenty of talent in these categories. Randall’s voice was excellently presented in “Enjoy the Trip” as he reflects on his high school years. He showed enthusiasm in everything he did on stage and while doubling as the choreographer for the show, his talent is apparent on and off stage. Danielle delivered an amazing performance in both singing and acting. From her powerful monologue confronting Campbell to every song and riff she sang, Danielle’s spunk swept the audience away.
Both Truman and Jackson had many talented dancers and singers in the ensemble who helped make the show amazing because of their commitment to the choreography. On the Truman side, the audience enjoyed the dynamic between Skylar (Jeanne Lubika), Kyler (Ishika Naik), and Eva (Kendall Stewart). Whether it be Skylar and Kyler delivering comedic lines or Eva’s “killer instinct” making the audience hope they never make a friend like her, the talent and charisma complimented each other. On the Jackson side, Nautica (Tania Allen) and La Cienaga (Vanessa Luna) had excellent vocals that created beautiful harmonies. Their song “It Ain’t No Thing” lets audiences see the characters of Nautica and La Cienaga without their leader, Danielle. This song also helped break Bridget (Adanna Kwapong) out of her shell, while still remaining pretty awkward; but her pureness brightened up the audience’s mood with many awes.
The Clarksburg Stage, Lighting, and Sound Crew helped complete the show. While there were some mic mishaps, they worked together and made the rest of the show go smoother. The lighting was a crowd favorite, with different colors representing the two schools and some silhouette lighting creating a cool effect. The sets were simplistic, and the costumes were perfect for the contrast of the two schools.
With an obvious talent-filled community, Clarksburg High School helped to present an upbeat and lively production of Bring It On: The Musical!
by Andrew Rishmawi of Woodgrove High School
In the cut-throat world of high school cheerleading, Bring It On: The Musical portrays Campbell’s story as the most popular girl and squad captain at Truman High School. Yet before she can begin to lead her championship squad to win at Nationals, tragedy strikes. The School redistricts Campbell forcing her to transfer to the “slums” of Jackson High School. Knocked off her high horse as queen, Campbell faces the trials and tribulations of her new and otherwise unfamiliar “outsider” status. She soon uncovers that sophomore Eva is responsible for knocking her from Truman High as a power grab for cheer captain. With her pride and a national title on the line, Campbell is forced to convince Danielle, Jackson’s top dog and captain of the hip-hop dance crew, to get revenge on Eva by starting a cheerleading squad of their own.
In Clarksburg High School’s rendition of Bring It On the Musical, the high stakes competition of High School Cheer had power, emotion, and nastiness oozing off the stage with these competitive cheerleaders doing whatever it takes to get what they want. Campbell, played by Ydiany Quiroz, set the stage with the opening number of “what I was born to do” and had the audience captivated by her beautiful voice and quality characterization. Her ability to portray the most popular cheerleader and have to navigate through the perils of being knocked down a couple of pegs broke the narrative of how superficial the stereotypical cheerleader can be. She especially had the audience captivated during her hilarious and entertaining performance of “Friday Night Jackson”. Her heart and passion for the stage shone through in her performance as Campbell and her character dynamic with her fellow actors really helped to push the storyline and motifs of following dreams and not needing others’ validation to define one’s own success.
The use of lighting, stage and set accentuated the natural talent of the actors and helped to bring out more powerful moments in the show such as their cheer routines and fun-filled songs such as “Friday Night Jackson”. While the sound did face some technical difficulties, the actors pushed past and helped hype up the audience radiating their excitement and passion of the show to everyone sitting in their seats. Their use of different colored lights to show the difference between the schools also helped to advance the emotions that Campbell felt throughout her journey.
Everyone in the cast held great energy throughout the show, and with their excellent use of comedic timing and great character dynamics, the cast as a whole truly made the show memorable and entertaining. The true powerhouses of the show, however, were none other than Skylar, played by Jeanne Lubika; Danielle, played by Renee Agben; Bridget, played by Adanna Kwapong; and last but certainly not least Eva, played by Kendall Stewart. Each of them is exceptional in their individual performances as well as within their ensembles. They never broke character and really made the audience fall in love with them. Through watching the show and seeing each of their characters shine, the audience was engrossed watching Eva’s true intentions unfold, laughing at Skylar’s blunt rudeness and perfect performance as a teenage brat, falling in love with adorable Bridget as the underdog that never lost hope, to finally being enchanted by Danielle’s powerhouse personality, voice and ability to grab audiences attention whenever she was on stage. Clarksburg High School’s talent truly shone through in their rendition of Bring It On: The Musical and is a must-see.