I'd like to start my final article with a quote from Stephen Sondheim on responsibility and criticism in the theater: "Nobody cares what you think. Once a creation has been put into the world, you have only one responsibility to its creator: Be supportive. Support is not about showing how clever you are, how observant of some flaw, how incisive in your criticism. There are other people whose job it is to guide the creation, to make it work, to make it live, but that is not your problem."
What Sondheim is probably talking about, and something I find all too common in my experiences as a theatergoer and a theater artist, is criticism for criticism's sake. We all know that person who goes to a show and, undoubtedly, finds something to criticize to show that they are able to have an opinion and are savvy enough to pick up on creative flaws in others' work. If the score was great, the book was bad. If the acting was wonderful, the choreography was boring. To these people, I say "Turn it off."
Bring it On, the Musical is hardly soul-feeding, heart-wrenching drama. I don't think there's anyone in Los Angeles right now (or the general theatergoing world) who expects it to be. What an audience expects is face-kicking choreography, fierce forward placed belting, and a great time in the theater. Every one of these things and much more is on display on the Ahmanson stage and yet, I have still heard criticism of the shallow plot and archetypal characters as though one would expect to see Ibsen or Chekhov on the stage. Some might call me a snob when it comes to theater because I happen to be highly critical, but I also have the ability to understand when the critic's filter needs to be turned off and a production enjoyed for the sheer magnitude and amount of passion put into the performances. Bring it On: the Musical offers some of the best choreography I've seen in recent years, performed by a cast with superhuman stamina.
This is not to say Bring it On is a mindless piece of fluff. Under all the LED lights and flashy costumes, there is a story of acceptance, love, passion, and the unrelenting will to fight for what we believe in that I wish was present in a few more people in the world. Go see Bring it On and let the show wash over you like the magnificent spectacle it is. When you surrender yourself to the piece, you may just find yourself thinking about your art in a different way.
Zach's Tips: • Parking is a huge hassle in Downtown LA, so just park in the Music Center garage that you can enter from Grand Ave. • Center Theatre Group offers HOT TIX for $20 on each performance day that are available at the box office.