Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations.
A Band of Veterans Swing for Their Lives:
Bandstand is a new Swing-era musical that follows a group of World War II veterans who come together in 1945 to create a swing band for a national radio competition.
From the producers:
Set in the smoke-filled, swing-fueled night clubs of 1945, Bandstand brings the against-all-odds story of singer/songwriter Donny Novitski and his band of mismatched fellow WWII veterans to the stage. When a national radio contest to find America’s next big swing band offers a chance at instant fame and Hollywood fortune, Donny must whip his wise-cracking gang of jazzers into fighting shape. Teaming up with the beautiful young war widow Julia as their singer, they struggle to confront the lingering effects and secrets of the battlefield that threaten to tear them apart. Playing for every voiceless underdog in a world that has left them behind, they risk everything in the final live broadcast to redefine the meaning of victory. With an explosive original score and choreography inspired by the high energy swing rhythms of the era, Bandstand is a truly American story of love, loss, triumph and the everyday men and women whose personal bravery defined a nation.
From Jersey to Broadway:
Bandstand is seemingly two stories: post-war realities and present-day necessities, wrapped in the seductive sounds of swing. The title suggests an homage to the swing era, but the new musical is more nuanced, addressing the pain of returning WWII vets in 1945. A workshop of Bandstand was held in September 2014 in New York City, featuring cast members Laura Osnes, Corey Cott and Beth Leavel. The show, retitled as The Bandstand, began previews in October 2015 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. The musical, its title once again Bandstand, premiered on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in April 2017. Choreographer and director Andy Blankenbuehler has taken home awards for his work on In the Heights and Hamilton, and this marks his second time directing a Broadway musical.
New York Magazine: “…an original musical with loads of fun music, expressive dance, and a will to grapple with issues that remain painfully topical is not to be dismissed glibly.”
Time Out New York: “Resonant…Bandstand dances a delicate line between nostalgia and disillusion. What it seems to promise, and often delivers, is Broadway escapism.”
Newsday: “The concept is more ambitious, darker and more sophisticated than its name invites theatergoers to enjoy…The results are visually and emotionally compelling.”
Variety: “…earnest and often-entertaining…the cast is made up of solid performers.”