When it comes to modern-day musicals, it’s easy to raise the pom-poms and cheer for somebody like Tony Award-winning writer Jeff Whitty. The creative mind behind “Avenue Q” and “Tales of the City” simply knows how to tell a story. Or, in the case of “Bring It On,” translate a popular film into a big, bold musical to remember.
The show hit the Orpheum Theatre this week.
Witty is in fine company with Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In The Heights”); Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal”) and lyricist Amanda Green (“High Fidelity”). Director-choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (“In The Heights”), also a Tony winner, is the master of the moves in a robust and very athletic stage endeavor.
Which makes Adrienne Warren’s job all the more interesting.
As the hip, stylish Danielle in the show — the Queen Bee of Jackson High School — Warren survived a grueling workout schedule early on to grasp some of the show’s more intense athletic feats.
“We’re a quadruple threat,” Warren says. “We have to be singers, dancers, actors and athletes. Not only do we have cheerleading but there’s hip-hop dancing and you’re really challenged, because hip-hop is very much into the ‘ground’; very grounded. But I was excited about it because there are very few roles, especially for an African-American woman, where you are being given the option to sing, dance and act.
“And then to put cheerleading into that, was a whole other world.”
The stage version mirrors much of the movie, and its soundtrack centers on how high school rivalries compete in the world of competitive cheerleading.
Humor is tossed into the mix, as well as a major life lesson: Winning isn’t everything.
“I like to call this 3-D musical theater,” Warren says, “because if there are emotions too strong to be able to say, you sing it; or too strong to sing, you start dancing. And when the emotion is too strong to dance, you see people flying through the air.
“I really think that [director] Andy Blankenbuehler is allowing us to use our bodies to tell the story in a very different way,” she adds. “I think we’re really creating a different vocabulary for musical theater.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. most Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. most Wednesdays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. most Sundays
Tickets: $31 to $200
Contact: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com