The pressure of having to be practically perfect plagues everyone at one time or another, athletically, academically, artistically, in school, on the playing field or in the corporate world. The need to be alive, alert, awake and enthusiastic is nowhere more evident than in the highly competitive arena of high school cheerleading competition. Just ask Campbell Davis, as a senior at Truman High School, she is about to realize her life- long dream, of seventeen years, to be elected captain of the cheer squad.To meet Campbell up close and personal, head over to Bridgeport’s Bijou Theatre, with or without pom poms by Sunday, August 7, to experience the joy and heartache, jealousy and revenge, forgiveness and friendship of “Bring It On The Musical.” With music by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, libretto by Jeff Whitty and lyrics by Amanda Green and Lin-Manuel Miranda, all the angst, anxiety and exhilaration of teenage years are revealed.Shaylen Harger is a sparkling firecracker as the girl who has all her dreams within reach, only to have them snatched from her capable hands when a school redistricting change moves her to Jackson High School, a poor multicultural area that does not even boast a cheerleading squad. How can she win Nationals now? A devastated Campbell tries to put on a brave face but she finds little solace in the cold greeting she gets at her new scholastic home. The presence of Bridget, an amicable Caitlin Brown, also caught in the redistricting laws, does little to help Campbell’s disappointment.Soon, however, Campbell realizes several truths: her move to Jackson was manipulated by a conniving rival Eva (Alissa Grey), her old boyfriend Steve (James Canal) is less than faithful, she really wants to trounce Truman and especially Skylar (Liza Kottler) and Kyler (Mackenzie Wenzel) and Eva on her old squad and she needs help from the new people in her life like Randall (Ryan Shea). After a rocky start, she is able to enlist the jive and jumping help of a trio of hip hop dancers, the movin’ and groovin’ Malia West, Rajane Katurah and Ainsley Andrade. With more than forty bouncy tunes, we watch these energetic and eager youngsters give it their all, in spirit and joy. Kirby and Beverly Ward keep the pulse rocking loud and strong as lessons are learned and real values emerge.
For tickets ($15-23), call the Bijou Theatre, 275 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport (exit 2 off route 8) at 203-332-3228 or online at www.thebijoutheatre.com. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. Come early for cocktails, dinner, concessions, coffee and/ or dessert.Revisit your high school days for a musical injection of what those teenage years were like way back when.