Just about the last thing I’d do on a typical Tuesday evening is sit through two hours of Broadway musical cheerleading routines. Then again, it was a date night with my high school daughter and I had a show to review.
That said, it’s not in the job description that I have to like everything I see.
And frankly as I headed to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts I was prepared to tolerate this one. Fortunately, I lucked out.
Add to all that, my daughter’s theatre instructor, David Hastings, was going to be in attendance with select students from the Olathe South Theatre; the undisputed kings of high school drama in Johnson County.
On top of all that, KC Confidential columnist, Theater League prez and Major Dude Mark Edelman had arranged a backstage meet and greet for my daughter, Hastings and three or four students that – apologetically – grew to 15 after the word got out.
Mark came through, regardless. And for that, on behalf of all those kids who will never forget what he did for them, a warm thank-you.
At the same time, I want to apologize for laying all those kids on him at the complete last minute.
In any case, my thinking going in was the highlight of my night would likely be the special time with my daughter followed by a stop at my favorite Town Topic.
Little did I know how much I was about to thoroughly enjoy the show.
This musical was saved from certain failure (any of you see the movie?) by the supurb writing skills of Jeffy Whitty who took what I saw as a topic that didn’t deserve Broadwayification, and turned it into a thoroughly enjoyable, compelling musical life lesson from start to finsh.
The two hour show weaves every high school stereotype and melodrama imaginable into its story line; the nerd, the brain dead cheerleader and the girl willing to take out her own friend to get ahead – to name three.
Then there’s fat, quirky “mascot,” Bridgett,- played by Maisie Salinger – who dreams of moving up the cheerleader ranks – but probably never will. She steps into her role of being part of the popular clique at a new school like she owns it.
When Campbell (Nadia Vynnytsky) is forced from Blue Valley High to the KCMO School District by her rival’s mom who sits on the school board, new challenges come to bear. Things like race, acceptance and blending in and establishing a new identity as she tries to talk Jackson High hip-hop hottie Danielle (Zuri Washington) into letting her join her group.
Everyone knows your well-coiffed Scribe loves the Kauffman, but the venue was custom made for this show; from the close proximity to the stage to the impeccable sound and lighting.
The choreography was spot on, the set changes, seamless. And where they found all the multi-disciplined talent to stage this show is beyond me.
Where do you find girls with killer voices who just happen to be gymnasts capable of flying 20 feet in the air?
I ‘m almost embarrassed to admit how much I truly enjoyed this show for fear that Harley will demand my Man Card back…but I did enjoy it…thoroughly.
The bottom line: People, get out and see this show.
Just ask yourself the one question that should lead all your major life decisions; WWPD? What Would Paul Do?
I’d go again tonight and you should too!