When I was little, I used to think that there were little elves that lived inside you and made your body work. They had little green overalls and pointed hats, and probably were based somewhat on the Keebler elves (since, let’s be honest, my childhood body was probably a large percentage Keebler products), and I didn’t really think to much about how this would actually work, or what was inside the elves, because I was a fanciful impractical child and whatever, I’m getting off track here.
My point is, I was reminded of this today in the subway when I saw this poster for the upcoming cheerleader musical ‘Bring it On':
Because it turns out, my childhood self wasn’t too far off, but I was wrong about the elves: apparently, our bodies are full of cheerleaders.
Now before I go any further, I would like to state for the record that I am legitimately super-excited about ‘Bring it On’. I greatly enjoy the movie on which it’s based, I have a couch potato’s natural fascination with the hyper-energetic and gravity-defying sport of cheerleading, and, most of all, the creative team for this show is RIDICULOUS. Having Jeff Whitty, Tom Kitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Green, David Korins, Jason Lyons and Andy Blankenbuehler all on one show is such an insane gathering of talent that I would like to request, on behalf of the Broadway community, that they never fly all in the same plane, à la the British royal family.
That being said, I was excited when I saw the first art for the show, which stuck to the simple, great title graphics with the floodlights behind. But then this new art appeared. And although my heart still herkies for the show, this poster wilts my pompoms.
First of all, ouch. That position just looks like it hurts. That might just mark me as an old creaky person, but something about that girl’s neck and back just makes me think she’s going to come down from that jump and be taped up like a mummy for the next month and a half. But to be fair, maybe she’s just in that position because she’s contorted in horror because she just realized that THERE ARE PEOPLE LIVING INSIDE HER.
I mean, many ladies say ‘the girls’ when referring to their boobs, but in this poor girl’s case, there are actually girls where her boobs should be. And, perhaps worse, there’s a canoodling couple right over her crotchal region, whose silhouette leaves a dark triangle that, if you fuzz your eyes, looks rather pube-y. It makes you wonder if the entire artwork was maybe conceived as one of those old paintings where an entire person is made out of vegetables, except in this case the vegetables are teens.
Actually, now that I look at it, I’m wondering if there isn’t a deeper analysis to this whole image – perhaps, instead of merely being a fun way to illustrate that the show is both about high jumping bodies AND people who have faces, the makers of the image have chosen to represent the truth of the frail human teenage body via images of the cast members. Like breasts, the girls at the chest laugh as if to say “oh, I’m sorry, did you want us to be perfect spheroids? Like THAT’s going to happen.” The couple in the genital region represent the makeout-centric zone, oblivious to the rest of the world, and snide knee bizarro-Meredith-Patterson smirks as if to say, “oh yes, my ligaments work fine now, but just you wait.” The comedy couple in the leg exchanges a look as if to say “no sure, that Jewel poem you got tattooed on your calf will totally still mean something to you when you’re old,” and the girl in the feet, well, she just wants to dance in hip overalls.
Or maybe not. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, and it is just a poster that shows a high-energy cheerleader who is full of friendship and romance and dancing. And that’s no bad thing – after all, just because someone is full of other creatures doesn’t mean they aren’t also filled with some Broadway razzmatazz: