Rave reviews from across the metro for “Bring It On”

Cappies critics

Cappies critics from across the metro area watched the production of “Bring It On” over the weekend. They had much to say about the production:

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OAK PARK HAS THE SPIRIT!

With stunts, costumes, and great comedic timing Oak Park High School’s production of BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL brings the spirit of the musical to life on stage.

BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL is a musical inspired by the film Bring It On. It is centered around the character Campbell who is a very popular cheerleader at Truman High School. She is excited to finish her senior year at Truman after getting elected captain of the cheerleading squad, but is surprised to learn that she has been redistricted to Jackson High School. The school has no cheer team which puts Campbell in distress until she discovers and befriends the school’s dance crew. She, along with dance crew captain, Danielle and a few other friends along the way, form a cheerleading squad and compete in one of the most important cheer competitions for the title of National Champions.

The leads in the show are bursting with talent! Campbell (Katherine Robbins) is full of energy and has a clear passion and dedication to her role in the production. Danielle (Alexyus Johnson) brings confidence to the stage that is unmatched! Combine that with the fact that these two actresses both have beautiful voices that continue to captivate the audience. Randall (Dominic Carrera) also plays a very important role as the male lead in the show. He has lots of energy and portrays his character quite well.

The supporting cast in the show shows lots of emotion and so much enthusiasm! La Cienega (Tony Coronado) and Nautica (Alexah Willhoilte) have a lot of spirit and power when portraying their characters. Twig (Olin Spencer) and Bridget (Olivia Robbins) both bring great comedic timing and have a chemistry that is delightful to watch on stage. Skylar (Jenna Holland) and Eva (Kylie McLane) bring their characters to life when playing them. They have amazing vocals and really become their characters on stage.

There are a lot of different technical aspects of the show that stand out. The costumes done by Kayleonah Trumble and Elleanna Miera for the Jackson High School students have so much variety and suit each character perfectly. The usage of hair extensions done by Halle Byers and Tristan Young was done to perfection and is really a stand-out part of the show. The Jackson High School set done by Cruz Lewis is another honorable mention for an aspect that stands out in this production

There are a few things that can get confusing during the show like the mixed-up sets and repetitive spotlight, but the show still manages to keep the audience engaged and energetic.

Overall, the production of BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL by Oak Park High School is a fun and spirited production that keeps the audience hooked and has a lot of enthusiasm and energy.

by Sariyah Shells of Raytown High School

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WHAT THEY ARE BORN TO DO

A haze of fog hangs over the stage. Anticipation builds. The moments just before an explosion of energy bursts free. BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL by OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL is the poster child for a pumped up, enthralling, and meaningful production.

BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL was released in 2011, based on the film from 2000 of the same name. BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL shows the story of Campbell, a high school senior whose dream is to be head of a winning cheerleading team. Just as her ambition is paying off, Campbell’s world is thrown upside down by a sudden transfer to a new school. Campbell must navigate friendships, survive betrayals, and learn to keep her spirit when life turns unexpected.

By the first scene of the show, actress Katherine Robbins, playing Campbell, has already brought her character to life. Witty and extremely vocally skilled, Robbins’ performance shines. Alexyus Johnson, playing Danielle, dominates every scene with her spectacular stage presence and confident energy, as well as gorgeous high notes.

Extremely talented Tony Coronado, playing La Cienega, takes on the role with skill and theatrical charisma. Olivia Robbins, playing Bridget, delivers each line with natural comedic skill and timing. The song, “What I Was Born to do” is hyped up and hilarious, right off the bat. Each supporting actor had a unique and distinctive skillset, each fitting their character well. The cast dynamic is so enjoyable to watch, it’s clear the fun on stage is really felt by the performers.

Notable as well are the incredibly swift and efficient scene changes. As soon as the lights go out, a rush of well rehearsed movement, like parts of a machine, have the stage ready to go in mere seconds. The makeup of the cheerleaders is well executed, and the costume crew, led by Kayleonah Trumble, and Elleanna Miera went above and beyond to custom order and individually fit the cheer uniforms to each actor. The costumes of the character Danielle, especially, were so representative of her character, and beautiful every time. The costumes in the performance show well executed creative vision. The dedication of the Marketing and Publicity crew, led by Olivia Zuniga, is clear, both by how much of the student body attends, and by the extra notice to small details like decoration. Impressive as well are the skill of lighting and sound designers, showing precision and practice.

The vocal performance in this show far exceeds most expectations of high school theatre. That being said, there were occasional moments when vocals were not perfectly on pitch. Overall, the vocal talent in this show is extraordinary, stands out and impresses again and again. So many massive, high energy choreographed dance numbers is a huge undertaking, and the ensemble and main actors handled it well. There were some scenes after these large dance numbers where ensemble members were low energy. This is extremely understandable, knowing how exhausting a complicated and well-thought out choreography plan is to perform. The entire cast took on the spectacular stunts with such impressive dedication, flying across the stage and through the air.

This production of BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL by OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL is an energetic, through-the-roof performance. Clever technical choices, skilled stunts, show stopping-vocals, comedic genius, and a powerful chemistry between cast members make for a remarkably memorable show.

by Elena Baker of Lee’s Summit West High School

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BRING IT ON WILL BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE

As the spotlight cuts through the fog illuminating the stage, beautiful vocals and enchanting instrumentals fill the room. This production of BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL by OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL makes the crowd come alive with the incredible energy of the cast and crew.

BRING IT ON is a musical written by Jeff Whitty, based on the movie released in 2000 with the same name. BRING IT ON premiered on Broadway in 2012, with music by Lin Manuel Miranda and others. The plot features Campbell, as she navigates the struggles of transferring schools and having her whole life turned upside down. This upbeat and engaging musical is brought to life onstage by the wonderful and talented company at OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL.

Leading the show is Sophomore Katherine Robbins, who displays stunning vocals and sharp dance movements while playing Campbell. She is able to show amazing vocal talent and range as well as fantastic energy and enthusiasm. Also worth mentioning is Tony Cordonado as La Cienega. Coronado displays the most amazing vocals in “It Ain’t No Thing”, showing the most incredible range and energy. Another bright spot is Olivia Robbins as Bridget. With amazing comedic timing, incredibly impressive chemistry and characterization, Robbins leaves the audience wanting more.

As the show progresses, the vocals of the entire cast continue to stun the audience. Even while doing exhausting stunts, the cast is able to display amazing breath control and support without faltering. The facial expressions and characterization of each character is also clearly well thought out. Each ensemble member has their own unique characterization seen in facial expressions. The infectious energy of the entire cast is constantly bleeding into the audience.

Every aspect of this show is executed flawlessly, special mention to Nick Begley, Ayah Abdelhameed, and Ava Norris for their incredible work on the sound design. Almost every single mic seemed to get the attention it deserved in order to personalize the EQ to achieve the crystal clear sound heard throughout the show, as well as levels constantly being balanced. There is also incredible timing of the recorded voices that clearly took a lot of practice with the cast to get right. Also very impressive is the costume design, a collaboration with Champion Cheer helps these costumers achieve incredibly accurate and good quality cheer uniforms. There was also amazing costume design and incredibly fast quick changes seen on the Jackson Trio.

BRING IT ON is an amazing display of some of the best high school theatre, through the cast and crew. This show will be sure to bring a smile to your face.

by Olivia Palmer of Lee’s Summit West High School

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OAK PARK BRINGS SPIRIT TO THE STAGE

Oak Park High School has spirit, yeah, yeah, they got spirit! The upbeat Overture fills the air and smoke sweeps the stage. From the stunning vocals to the attention to detail, you’re sure to have the cheer spirit.

BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL was originally a movie, made in the year 2000. The musical premiered in January 2011 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia with music and lyrics written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. It follows the story of Campbell as she becomes cheer captain at Truman High School when suddenly, her whole life is flipped upside down. She gets transferred to the rival school, Jackson High School, which does not have a cheer squad. At Campbell’s new school, she meets a group of friends who accept her for who she is and they all work together to make it to Nationals.

In this exceptional production of BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL, Danielle, leader of the Jackson Crew, played by Alexyus Johnson, brings the character to life. The moment Alexyus walks on stage, the audience’s eye is drawn to her. From her powerful vocals to her dynamic sass, no one can ignore her. You can tell Alexyus spent time evaluating her character to convey the strong personality of Danielle. She has great chemistry with all of the actors she interacts with and you can tell she brings everyone together.

With every great show comes supporting actors and actresses. Someone who displays constant involvement and effort is Jenna Holland who plays Skylar, the peppy cheerleader. Jenna does an amazing job of making her character the stereotypical cheerleader but also a loving friend. She stole the spotlight every time she sang, hitting powerful notes and embodying the sass. More people who catch the audience’s attention are La Cienega, played by Tony Coronado, and Nautica, played by Alexah Willhoite. Tony and Alexah quickly became the audience’s favorite, whether it was the full-out dancing or the attitude that makes the audience laugh. Tony did an amazing job dancing, as he wears high heels. Nautica has a lovely voice that the audience wants more of. With the quality acting and singing, every character on stage understands that all of them are important to the final product.

With every spectacular performance comes the technical aspects. The set, while minimal, has such detail on it such as spray paint and posters on the lockers. Transitions are smooth with the help of quicker than light costume changes. All of the costumes on stage tied the show together; each costume is thoughtful and precise to match the exact character. Although beautiful, some lighting is seen as repetitive, but no matter, the audience’s attention is not pulled from the show.

Looking around the audience, everyone is constantly laughing, dancing along to the dances, or cheering at the impressive stunts. Seeing BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL at Oak Park High School is a must. Throughout the whole show the actors, orchestra, and tech work together to create a near-flawless performance.

by Cadence Mayrand of Lee’s Summit West High School

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BRINGING IT ON STAGE!

5, 6, 7, 8! Your Truman and Jackson Cheerleaders are here to transport you into the cutthroat atmosphere of what high school cheerleading, BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL, is on stage. The upbeat choreography and the audacious attitudes of the cheer squads lead the audience into the fun-filled night of BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL at Oak Park High School.

This movie adaptation musical was written in 2011, with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Tom Kitt, tells the story of senior-student Campbell on her journey to become cheer captain at Truman High School against her friendly competition, Skylar and Kylar. When the school board decides to re-district her house into the Jackson High School limits, Campbell will have to face her senior year walking the halls of a rival school that she doesn’t know. Campbell later finds out that her neighbor and newbie cheerleader, Eva, takes the captain spot while Skylar and Kylar are out for weeks of the season in hopes of becoming just like Campbell, who she has idolized her whole life. While at Jackson High School, Campbell teams up her trusty friend Bridget, and the Jackson Crew. Throughout the school year, the Jackson Squad rivals with the Truman cheerleaders in the chance to obtain the National title. Will Campbell achieve her dreams of Nationals, or will she get caught up in the cheerleadi
ng lifestyle?

The fantastic performances from Katherine Robbins, as Campbell, and Dominic Carrera, as Randall, shows the audience that they know how to BRING IT ON. Katherine Robbins, as Campbell, influences the scene with her authentic acting choices and prominent characterization that put us into the world of Campbell’s life. A standout feature is the physicalization that Robbins has of the character Campbell, there is no forced aspect or feeling of her specific choices.

Oak Park High School’s, BRING IT ON, conveys the authenticity of what a high school setting can potentially feel in a life-like setting. Alexyus Johnson’s rendition of the character, Danielle, in the Jackson Crew Trio is remarkable, and undoubtedly one of the most vocally inclined roles of the show. With exceptional comedic timing and noteworthy stage presence, the character is very authentic and lively to watch.

The technical aspects for Oak Park High School’s BRING IT ON are flying through the air for this show. Elleanna Miera, and Kayleonah Trumble are jumping into high gear whenever it comes to the interpretation of the BRING IT ON costumes. Partnering with Champion Cheer Company, they are able to have cheer uniforms for the Truman and Jackson cheerleaders that are form-fitted specifically for each individual in the cast. The dedication of these individuals does not go unnoticed, and the ambition for the success of the show is shining through.

The lighting of the show is bright, and lively for the audience; although there are times when the stage is too dark to make out the characterization of the actors at hand, the majority of the lighting choices make sense otherwise and reflect well with the emotion on stage.

Overall, Oak Park High School’s BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL is a vocally impressive and fantastic representation of great characterization that puts you into Campbell’s cheer-fanatic world.

by Cassidy Knight of Lee’s Summit West High School

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5…6…7…8…BRING IT ON OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL!

“It’s all Happening” at Oak Park High School in their production of BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL. All hands are on deck in creating such a well-rounded, spectacular show!

The storyline follows Campbell, your above-average cheerleader at Truman High School, and her squad as they start their senior year. Campbell receives some unfortunate news her senior year. She must transfer across town to Jackson High School, a school with a rough reputation. At Jackson, she quickly runs into the Jackson Crew: 3 spunky, sassy and confident girls who like to dance hip hop. As her Truman rival, Eva, schemes against her, Campbell develops a cheer team of her own to compete at Nationals. In this story of Jackson High vs Truman High the girls learn the importance of being yourself and being confident in who you are. The show first hit broadway in 2012, starring Taylor Louderman as Campbell. The musical is known for its intense choreography, featuring stunts and flips. And features music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The show begins with a lively pit orchestra. The Bring it On Band underscores the singers well and blends to their sound. The strong lead vocalists consist of Alexyus Johnson playing Danielle, Jenna Holland playing Skylar and Kylie McLane playing Eva. These actresses are consistently on pitch and each showcase a supported belt that gives their characters an extra amount of sass! Strong lead actors/actresses include Katherine Robbins as Campbell, Olivia Robbins as Bridget, Alexyus Johnson as Danielle, Tony Coronado as La Cienega, Olin Spencer as Twig and Jenna Holland as Skylar. These lead characters show the deepest level of character development, presence in the scene, and comedic timing. Although the majority of the acting is well rehearsed and meaningful, some relationships between certain characters were lacking in being genuine. Although relationships aren’t as serious in high school, it would enhance the show to see more chemistry between love interests.

What is BRING IT ON without a cheer team? Both the Jackson and Truman cheerleading ensembles perform impressive stunts and various dance moves onstage. The male identifying cheerleaders are quite impressive for loudly singing their parts and their special toe touches and jumps. Jillian Ray, a Jackson cheerleader, is particularly sharp with her movements and has several featured moments in the cheer where she performs an aerial and the worm. The stunts are clean and well-rehearsed. Bravo to both cheerleading squads!

All technical elements of the show are well-designed and executed. At the beginning of the show there is a smoke machine which, paired with the single spotlight, creates a powerful opening number and immediately gives the audience insight into Campbells emotions. The costumes are uniform and practical for both the cheerleaders and the high school students. The makeup utilizes long ponytail hair extensions that look great onstage during choreography. Overall, all tech elements are above average quality for high school theater. Bravo to all designers and crew!

BRING IT ON by Oak Park High School is sure to make audiences laugh and leaves them feeling confident about who they are! With a “Legendary” performance by actors/actresses and technicians, BRING IT ON is a masterpiece you won’t forget.

by Danielle Omer of Lee’s Summit West High School

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The sound of pom poms rustle in the theatre, as Cheerleaders take over the stage. The loud sounds of cheering can be heard from miles away at Oak Park High School’s production of BRING IT ON.

The musical is partly based on the 2000 film Bring it on, and it first opened on stage in 2011. The musical follows the life of Campbell Davis, as it was always her dream to become the cheer captain of Truman High. but she gets thrown into a new life when she gets transferred to Jackson High school, as she deals with her new life.

Campbell, played by Katherine Robbins, brings life and emotions to the stage with her entrancing vocals. Bridget, who is played by Olivia Robbins, is full of joy onstage as she could make the audience laugh with joy at her charismatic personality and her character’s high self confidence.

All of the actors took their role very seriously and were able to connect to their character on a deeper level. Danielle, played by Alexyus Johnson, did a fantastic job with the characterization of her character as she knew when she needed to be sassy while knowing how to adjust to the emotion of the play. La Cienega, played by Tony Coronado, was one of the comedic highlights of the show as he always made sure to have his stage presence known.

The lights and sound effects were on a whole new level. The Sound crew used voice overs to add more depth to different scenes, and the mics sounded clear. The lighting used different lighting in order to help the emotion of the different scenes, having a red light cover the stage whenever something bad happened in a scene really helped the audience understand the emotions.

The use of spotlight for solos was a little repetitive as other than the different colors of lighting, it was the only true lighting change. The Ensemble flowed really well together, but sometimes actors would get lost in the moment and forget the choreography or what they needed to do. The use of spray paint on the Jackson High School lockers were a great touch, as you could see a bit more into each character while adding into the stereotyping of the school.
Oak Park High School’s production of Bring it on was an experience that will leave you cheering your heart out from the audience.

by Keira Eichelkraut of Lee’s Summit West High School

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STUDENTS AT OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL “BRING IT” TO THE STAGE

Picture a typical high school cheerleading story, flush with competitions, complicated love triangles, and dazzling routines. Now turn that story on its head. OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL’s rendition of BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL is a fantastic reimagining of a stereotypical cheer story that maintains all of the best parts of the genre.

Although BRING IT ON shares its name with the film it is based on, the original soundtrack, written by Lin Manuel Miranda adds a new layer of excitement to the production. Since its stage debut in 2011, the story of Campbell (Katherine Robbins) has captivated audiences across the globe. In her journey to win cheerleading nationals, despite being transferred to a new school her senior year, Campbell learns a plethora of life lessons, courtesy of her new friends Danielle (Alexyus Johnson), Bridget (Olivia Robbins), and Randall (Dominic Carrera).

Starring as Campbell, Robbins brings all the energy required to depict a peppy cheerleader. Her masterful chants and comedic energy drive the show forward. As Bridget, Olivia Robbins’ snappy comedic timing delights audiences, keeping even the most somber moments enjoyable to watch. In the role of Danielle, Johnson absolutely dominates on stage. Her witty energy and graceful dancing are complemented by her mesmerizing voice. Another noteworthy vocalist is Kylie McLane in the role of the villainous Eva. Despite her limited solos, McLane’s strong vocals and effortless characterization make her one of the most memorable parts of the production. Throughout the show, Robbins, Robbins, Johnson, and McLane provide fantastic energy and commitment, resulting in an exciting show.

Aided by student choreographers Kylie McLane, Jillian Ray, Ginger Jones, and Annie Gemmill, the entire cast performs masterful stunts, including several difficult lifts. The energy the entire cast brings to the stage infuses audiences with excitement. Performing the role of La Cienega in stilettos, Tony Coronado is impressively confident and funny alongside Alexah Willhoite, who plays Nautica. Although the two have limited stage time, their presence fills the stage when they do get to shine. Singing and dancing to music provided by the Bring It On Band, the entire cast is alight with energy and excitement.

The performers are of course aided by wonderful technical work. The lighting, designed by Syn Lopez complements the action on stage, drawing the audience towards the main characters without distracting from the scene. Quick transitions performed by the stage crew keep the pace of the show without drawing attention. The colorful costumes, designed by Elleanna Miera and Kayleonah Trumble stand out despite the number of actors on stage.

Thanks to the enormous energy of the show, any moments where lines are lost or the choreography is messy are quickly forgotten. The actors’ masterful projection covered any moments when microphones cut out, without sacrificing the plot. Overall, the passion brought to the stage by both the cast and crew more than makes up for any off-key moments or small mistakes.

All in all, OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL’s BRING IT ON is a high-energy production that leaves audiences cheering for more.

by Libby Bastow of Lee’s Summit West High School

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A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

The musical BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL, written by Jeff Whitty and presented by Oak Park High School is a high energy, comedic, emotional and slightly sassy production that highlights the importance of friendship and honesty. Originally produced in 2011 by the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, BRING IT ON won 3 Suzi Bass Awards for choreography and sound designs.

The story follows an ambitious girl, Campbell, who gets transferred out of her school where she leads the cheerleading squad. She is forced to leave her friends Skylar, Kylar and Eva behind. In the new school she meets the Johnson Trio, Danielle, La Cienega and Nautica, who make her work her way into the group. Campbell deceives the trio into competing in a cheer competition and when they find out how Campbell had tricked them, they still go through with the tournament to prove that fights are not worth ruining friendships over.

Sophomore, Katherine Robbins, portrays the character Campbell with an abundance of energy. Her dancing is fluid and engaging, she leads numerous choreography numbers confidently and rightfully so. Her singing is captivating and certain songs, such as “What Was I Thinking”, are full of emotion, leaving the audience in awe.

Danielle, played by Alexyus Johnson, owns the stage. Every song that she sings, step that she takes, word from her mouth holds power. Her first appearance, during “Do your Own Thing” makes one thing abundantly clear; she was made for the stage. Her friends Nautica and La Cienega help add more depth into the plot. Tony Coronado plays a sassy transgender woman and in no way backs down from dancing in stilettos. Nautica, Alexah Willhoite, adds more warmth and shines during “It Ain’t No Thing”. Kylie McLane plays Eva who is a spunky copycat antagonist that sings “Killer Instinct” with a beautiful voice that enthralls the audience. Olin Spencer portrays the comic relief character, Twig. His spirited and bold character choices and dancing prove him to be a strong performer. Jillian Ray was choreographer and ensemble member who held the audience’s attention multiple times with her dance skills, emotions and character choices. She proves that every character, named or not, has the power to enhance the production value of a show.

Stage management is fast and effective. Scene changes waste no time and use actors in costume to handle what they can. Set is simple, yet well done. There is certainly attention to detail, and it manages to stay out of the way of choreography, yet there still could be more. The costume crew deserves applause of their own. Danielle and her trio have various costumes that could not be more perfect. Outstanding work. Lighting doesn’t have much variety, however some moments in particular stand out due to their creativity, such as the flashing lights when the metal detector goes off.

Oak Park proves that high school theater still has the ability to perform to professional levels and sets a high standard that theater departments will have to “step it up” in order to live up to.

by Nick Harris of Lee’s Summit West High School

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THEY ARE NOT IN CHEER CAMP ANYMORE

Captivating the audience is not a simple task, but comedic innuendos is a great place to start.

The musical BRING IT ON first hit the broadway stage in 2011 and is based on the 2000 movie of the same name. The original production was nominated for best musical in 2013 under the direction of Andy Blankenbuehler. Although the story of BRING IT ON is popular in its own right, a great source of appreciation for the work comes from the musical writing of Lin-Manuel Miranda. This performance by Oak Park High School showcases the struggle of change, and the importance of persevering through adversity.

There’s a great level of consistency shown by Campbell, played by Katherine Robbins: a high energy commitment to the stunts being performed, vocal technique remains mostly supported despite said stunts, and maintains a believable persona of the character. Campbell’s portrayal is bringing light to the well-rounded performance technique of Robbins.

Balancing out a female heavy cast, Twig, played by Olin Spencer, brings comedy and life to the stage. Spencer engages the audience in all levels of execution: singing, dancing, and acting. Danielle, played by Alexyus Johnson, portrays this as well. The comedic aspect of the role are accentuated by the fresh portrayal. Both performers have an engaging comedic quality while maintaining the original intention of the respective roles.

The Bring It On Band is a wonderful addition to the show, and provides an authentic feel to the performance. At the same time, the voiceover and red lighting that is used for Eva’s true feelings of a matter are a creative way to show that expression for the character. The costuming for the show, as designed by Elleanna Miera and Kayleonah Trumble, has a theme for each of the characters which helps with not only identifying the different characters, but also letting the audience know how much time and effort is put into the costumes.

While going into the show, it was understood that the majority of the set were pieces brought on stage and taken off. However, the inconsistency of when the lockers are onstage and at what time lasted throughout the majority of the second act. This discrepancy took away from the intention of the scene being performed. The choreography has a solid base intention for the ensemble to portray, however, the movements need to be polished to create the look that is meant to be there.

The production has shown off the skills of the ensemble while highlighting the characteristics of each performer. A good show engages the audience, but a great show leaves the audience thinking about it. This show brings passion and skill to the stage in a captivating way that leaves a lasting impression.

by Clara Bryant of Raytown High School

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IT’S ALL HAPPENING AT OAK PARK

Who knew redis- redis- having to transfer schools because of new district lines could wreck so much havoc? Watch as Oak Park High School’s production of BRING IT ON shows how major roadblocks in life can become a life-changing opportunity.

Campbell’s dreams of being captain of Truman’s cheerleading squad finally comes true in her senior year of high school, but it all halts when she is forced to move to the all-different Jackson High School. Saying goodbye to her friends and her position is the worst scenario she never even thought of. However, she will realize that this unexpected turn is one of the best things she will experience. BRING IT ON, loosely based on the Bring It On movie, premiered in January of 2011. The music clearly written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt, along with its script and choreography, brings together modern concepts in harmony.

The hope-filled voice of Campbell (Katherine Robbins) opens the show then transitions to her strong vocal explosion as the Truman cheerleaders joins her on stage. Her kind, though wavering in scenes with Eva (Kylie McLane), and outgoing personality is a staple of her character that Katherine highlights throughout the show. Her complete opposite, Danielle (Alexyus Johnson), brings the sass with her voice, both in singing and acting, flowing as serenely as a stream. Danielle’s confident aura bursts every minute she is on stage. Their enemies to friends dynamic displays great chemistry proven by their harmonious duet, “We’re Not Done.”

Bridget’s (Olivia Robbins) bubbly personality is endearing to watch. Her counterpart, Twig (Olin Spencer) uses both his voice and body to land many comedic lines and show off his romantic prowess. Meanwhile, La Cienega (Tony Coronado), rocking the choreography with heels, and Nautica (Alexah Willhoilte), demonstrating her exceptional basketball skills, enhance the Jackson Crew trio with their distinct but melodious voices.

The dull gray lockers mixing with the bright graffiti of the school set represents the type of school Jackson is, and the details of the graffiti and the burger joint set piece is crisp. Lights switching to red whenever Eva shows her true colors emphasizes her role, particularly when Campbell walks in on Steven and Eva. Accompanying the lights, and everything else, is the Bring It On Band, playing well and aiding the timings of certain scenes.

The set transitions are quick and smooth, yet the school set’s constant presence in almost every scene is confusing, breaking the suspension of disbelief built up in previous scenes. Although the Jackson Crew trio’s costumes are not cohesive, the individual pieces and style for each character is consistent. The comedic aspects of the show are effective, most jokes and lines land as intended, but when the more gentle, somber scenes happen, it is abrupt and does not allow for tension to relax or heighten, nor for development to brew gradually.

Oak Park High School’s production of BRING IT ON is endless entertainment with its wonderful comedic timing, compelling message about white privilege, and powerful vocals. The stunts captivate while staying safe and their commitment to their roles and songs is admirable.

by Cynne Soria of Raytown High School

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BRING ON A LEGENDARY PERFORMANCE

Bright lights, matching costumes, and cartwheels around the stage. All of this sounds like a cheer squad ready for action. As Oak Park High School performs BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL, the audience watches the theatre perform a story of a girl and her cheer team.

Campbell is a high school cheerleader who is just trying to get through high school when out of nowhere, she has to switch schools, which means she has to quit the cheer squad. During this, she finds herself losing some friends, her boyfriend, and her title as cheer captain. When she finally finds out why everything is going so wrong, she is determined to win the next cheerleading competition with her own group of cheerleaders.

The audience loved Campbell, who was played by Katherine Robbins, as she took to the stage and performing stunts that were successfully pulled off. Each time she was the flyer or one of the bottom people helping lift, each basket toss was successful. The audience also hears each melody put together whether she is singing solely or in a duet, each note is in harmony with the music from the orchestra.

As the rest of the crew is flipping and dancing across the stage, each stunt is pulled off with no accidental slip ups. Each dance is being performed with agility as everyone knows where they need to be and no traffic jams accrued. Everyone knows how the dance goes and is in synch with the other high school students.

The red lighting that was used on stage as Eva, who was played by Kylie McLane, sings about all the horrible things she did to become cheer captain shows the difference between how she acts towards others and how she really acts behind their backs. Each time the red light was on, Eva would talk and have a voice effect of a deep, raging, monster who will do what she needs to get her way. As this effect is used, each person in the setting is frozen so it is as if she is singing it in her own head and no one else knows what is going on. Along with lighting, each costume of the Truman High School matched and everyone has white tennis shoes to match while the Jackson school had individual costumes to match each character’s personality. With the Jackson school, there were many costume changes that each character went through whether they are in the ensemble or a leading/supporting character. With the Jackson school, they also had different cheer pieces depending on how their character dressed and acted.

While at some point there would be a flat note from a solo singer, there are also many times where a note is being held out for a period of time and the note is on point. There are also times where an actor could not reach a note but they still went full force toward the note even if they knew they could not reach it. None of the actors held back and fully went for it when singing.
Oak Park High School’s production of BRING IT ON is a wonderful performance full of laughs and many smiles.

by Izzie Lawrence of Raytown High School

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BE READY TO FLIP OUT AT OAK PARK’S BRING IT ON

Truman High is an average high school but their cheer team will stop at nothing to take first place at the national cheer competition. Music written by Tony Award Winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, this show tells the tale of lies, love, and most of all cheer. Oak Park High School outstandingly performs this challenging show.

BRING IT ON is the sprightly story of Campbell, a high school student who tries to take her team cheer team to win at the national cheerleading championship. But, right as she finally earns the role of captain, she is transferred to Jackson High. Here, she fails to fit into any of the cliques and is distraught at the fact that they don’t have a cheer team. With lyrics and music composed by Tony-Award Winning writer Lin-Manuel Miranda, the score is filled with many quick rap parts that are challenging even for professional actors. The show had a 5 month run on Broadway in 2012. The show requires many huge dance numbers and countless stunts.

Katherine Robbins plays Campbell, and she does a wonderful job with her character’s development in the show. The story starts with her showing overwhelming confidence, but her world quickly shatters, and she is then filled with the anxiety of fitting in at a new school. The audience can feel Katherine’s emotion as she spits out quick verses, seen in “Bring It On.” Dominic Carrera plays Randall, the love interest of the show. His voice blends very well alongside Katherine in “Enjoy the Trip.” Katherine is incredibly animated with her dances the entire night, but she flourishes in the big dance numbers like “Cross the Line,” “I Got You,” and “It’s All Happening.”

“Ain’t No Thing” is one of the most energetic songs in the entire musical, energetically performed by Nautica, La Cienega, and Bridget. Olivia Robbins plays Bridget, Campbell’s best friend who guides her in Jackson High. Tony Coronado plays La Cienega, he brings so much enthusiasm and confidence in his character at all times. Alexah Willhoite plays Nautica, who pierces each note with bite, power, and accuracy.

The minimalistic set was a great choice as it allows all stunts to be done safely. The lockers are a great addition to the scenes of Jackson High. The detail doesn’t fail with the addition of graffiti on the lockers. The partnership with Champion Teamwear is seen in the detailed look of the uniforms.

The energy of the entire show was high throughout the whole production. However, some moments were missing emotion. They overcame this challenge with astonishing stunts and dances filled with vitality.

Oak Park High School’s production of BRING IT ON will bring lots of laughs and a priceless night to remember.

by Lucas Mayo of Raytown High School

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IT’S ALL HAPPENING AT BRING IT ON AT OAK PARK

Imagine having to move to a new school senior year, having to make all new friends, being known as the outcast, and worst of all, having no cheerleading team. Well this nightmare is reality for senior Campbell in BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL.

The BRING IT ON movie came out in 2000 and was followed up by five sequels released from 2004-2017. BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL was published January 15, 2011 with playwright Jeff Whitty. The musical was composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt and lyrics by Amanda Green and Lin-Manuel Miranda. BRING IT ON is about the struggles of high school cheerleading and trying to fit in. It follows Campbell’s senior year as she is forced to move schools, has her title of captain removed and loses her closest friends. But also while learning no matter who you are, you should be your true self regardless of who is watching.

Campbell (Katherine Robbins) truly embodies the personality of her character. She takes the stage and goes full out. She commits to all of her choreography, lines and songs which makes her character come to life. She has such a positive energy on stage which helps the audience hold onto everything she says.

The Jackson Trio (Alexyus Johnson, Alexah Willhoilte, Tony Coronado) has untouchable chemistry on stage and harmonies that blend beautifully. Skylar (Jenna Holland) and Kylar (Erin Jarman) have strong and powerful voices. Bridget (Olivia Robbins) has impeccable comedic timing. Eva (Kylie McLane) acts out her character development extremely well.

The cheerleading costumes (Kayleonah Trumble and Elleanna Miera) are realistic and have sparkles that shine in all lighting. The hair extensions (Halle Byers and Tristan Young) are seamless and look like the girls real ponytails. The lights (Syn Lopez) portray the emotions of the scenes and change right as dramatic events happen. The BRING IT ON Band does not miss a beat. They keep the scenes flowing and play out while not overpowering the vocalists.

Despite moments where the energy is low by the ensemble, they prevail in continuing to act if they do not have lines by mouthing lines and staying in character. At times, with the full ensemble, there are stunts that draw the attention of the audience and are thrilling but also not everyone is together in the choreography sections. Even though in some musical numbers the singing is a little out of tune, everyone fully commits and sings with confidence.

The cast shows skills in enunciating when there are fast singing parts so the audience can comprehend what is said. They have the ability to make the audience want to get out of their seats and do a few cartwheels with them. Above all, the cast shows what BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL is truly about; believing in yourself and embracing who you are.

by Maggie Givens of Raytown High School

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IT’S ALL HAPPENING AT OAK PARK’S PRODUCTION OF BRING IT ON

If looking for a fun-loving experience full of high-flying cheerleading stunts, and an engaging cast, look no further than Oak Park’s production of BRING IT ON.

The show first premiered on Broadway in 2011, and the music and lyrics are written by the Tony award winning lyricist and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as Tom Kitt on music, and Amansa Green on lyrics. BRING IT ON follows a girl named Campbell who finally had her dreams come true in becoming cheerleading captain, but is soon ripped away from her when redistricting forces her to leave Truman High and go to Jackson High instead, where there is not a cheerleading squad. So, she decides to create her own squad at Jackson High, but she has to convince the leader of the dance crew, Danielle, first.

Campbell, played by Katherine Robbins does a wonderful job and is a well rounded actress. She is committed to her role and is able to execute flips, cartwheels, and other stunts with very little error. Kathrine has amazing energy and is engaging to watch on stage. She does an excellent job engaging with the other characters on stage creating a seamless dynamic between the performers.

Bridget, played by Olivia Robbins, has an amazing way of delivering lines. She is hysterical, causing laughter from the audience every time she is on stage. Olivia fits her character perfectly and her commitment makes the performance even better.

While the minimal set pieces designed by Cruz Lewis did not detract from the show it is confusing at times because a different scene seems to be set in the same place. Even though it is confusing, the details in the set are well done and are pleasing to look at. Costumes, designed by Elleanna Miera and Kayleonah Trumble, fit each character really well, but there is a lack of cohesiveness from all of the costumes making it distracting to the eye. By the end of the show, however, the intention was clearer. The hair extensions put on by Halle Byers and Tristan Young looked realistic.

BRING IT ON performed by Oak Park High School is a must see full of hilarious characters and a beautiful story about true friends and persevering through the hard times to get to the good.

by Naomi Gonterman of Raytown High School

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BRING ON THE ABSOLUTE BOPS

Cheerleaders, plus Lin Manuel-Miranda, plus excellent execution equals a great time.

BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL by Oak Park High School tells the story of a cheerleader named Campbell who is forced to leave her school, Truman, and attend Jackson High School. Her new school is significantly poorer than her old one and she must grapple with the different social norms and her new status. Danielle, who goes to Jackson, and Campbell build a new cheer team for Jackson, and take on Truman High School in national competition. The original show premiered in 2011 and is written by Jeff Whitty and composed by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The outstanding music in this production is done extremely well by a masterful orchestra and outstanding singing ability. The music as a whole is a standout in this production. Outstanding choreography and stunts makes many of the large musical numbers extremely impressive.

The main character Campbell (Katherine Robbins) executes her role with perfection. She gives the character a relatable personality, executes the cheerleading stunts extremely believable, and provides outstanding vocals for the role. The other lead, Danielle (Alexyus Johnson) provides wonderful execution of one liners and an outstanding singing voice that shines in many songs. The leads of this production drive so much of the energy and music.

There are so many supporting characters in this production and so many of them were memorable. Eva (Kylie McLane) shines in her solos and provides wonderful comedic bits. Twig (Olin Spencer) shows his ability to make the entire audience crack up. He makes his small role extremely memorable and amusing. Skylar (Jenna Holland) commits to her mean girl character perfectly.

Several large stunts and complex choreography causes the set to be very minimalistic. The few set pieces that are used look extremely well done. Rapid scene changes are also well managed. Costumes for the show provided a clear distinction between the high schools and clearly show the characters’ personalities.

BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL has some amazing music and Oak Park executes that music perfectly. Though some technical aspects feel a little empty, fun choreography and acting fills those spaces. This show is a joy to watch and is executed with perfection.

by Parker Cobden of Raytown High School

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IT’S ALL HAPPENING AT OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOLS PRODUCTION OF BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL

They have flips, basket tosses, smiling faces, sharp movements, but most importantly, they have team spirit at Oak Park High School’s production of BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL.

BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL, loosely based on the movie of the same title, is about the challenges of Campbell going to a new school and trying to find herself again in the one thing she loves, cheer.

Katherine Robbins takes on the role of Campbell perfectly. She wows the crowd with her amazing belt and astounding cheer and dance movements. Randall, played by Dominic Carrera brings life to this lovable character. Campbell and Randall have great chemistry on stage and the growth of their relationship is evident throughout the show.

All eyes are on the Jackson crew every time they step on stage. The main girls a part of the crew are all insanely talented and consist of Danielle, played by Alexyus Johnson, Nautica, played by Alexah Willhoite and La Cienega played by Tony Coronado. They all work wonderfully together and have stunning harmonies when singing with each other. Their presence on stage is undeniable and unignorable. Kylie McLane takes on the role of Eva, the sweetheart turned into the unexpectedly evil queen bee flawlessly. Skylar, played by Jenna Holland, is perfectly mean, but you can’t help but love her and her remarkable voice. Bridget, Campbell’s friend, played by Olivia Robbins is everything that is wanted in a friend. Robbins takes on this role wonderfully while being hilarious and having apparent character development. The ensemble had outstanding school spirit and energy throughout the show. Each actor that has a rapping part does an extraordinary job at enunciating their words and keeping up with the tempo. A memorable person whose rapping is outstanding is Twig, played by Olin Sencer. He also does a great job at being hilarious with his character. The ensemble is engaging in every song and scene. They help add depth to the sometimes bare stage. An unforgettable song is, “It’s All Happening” it is an exceptional performance that shows off the characters voices and dance moves.

The costumes, designed by Elleanna Miera and Kayleonah Trumble accurately depict what teens today wear and they fit each character perfectly. The details on the cheer uniforms are fantastic. The sparkle from the costumes can be seen from the audience. Props, designed by Dani Hughes also does a great job with the detailing of each prop used. The stage crew does an amazing job with smooth and quick scene changes.

Though the setting is confusing at times the story still gets across. Also, sometimes the mics aren’t working, you can still hear the actors because of their ability to project out into the audience.

This show is full of energy and shows what it means to be a friend. BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL performed by Oak Park High School is delightful to watch. The show ends on a great note with their closing Song, “I Got You”.

by Phenix Watson of Raytown High School