Bandstand Review - A Tribute to Our Troops

 

Before I begin this review, I would like to acknowledge three separate men in my family.  One, my father, who fought in WW2 in the Seabees in the South Pacific.   Secondly, my husband, who was in the reserves during the Vietnam War and finally, my 11-year old grandson, Ian.  No, he hasn't (and hope he never will) fight in any war, but I must acknowledge him.  We recently went out for dinner and Ian asked if he could get me dessert from the buffet bar.  While he was away making me the most complicated ice cream sundae, a man in his 70's came over to our table.

"Who belongs to the kid with the blue shirt,"  he asked.  "What did he do now?"  my daughter replied.

This man, whose name I never did get, told us that Ian noticed the shirt he was wearing with said, "US MARINE'S VIET NAM.'  Ian asked this man if he was in Viet Nam and he replied, 'yes I was.'  My grandson then put down his plate and saluted this vet and said 'Thank you for your service.'  This man had tears in his eyes as he told us that no child, and rarely and adult, acknowledged his service to our country.

 

 

This is the ONE reason you should see BANDSTAND; and there are many others.

Bandstand is a tribute to our troops.  All our troops.  It's about getting back to 'life' as they may have known it before they freed the holocaust victims in the camps. Although the production takes place after WW2, it could have been any war.  From the composition of the full house in the theatre, applause came from every branch of the service, then and now.  Here was a musical that touched the hearts of all our vets and their families.

 

 

Bandstand isn't about the war itself.  It's about coming back. 

Donny Novitski (Corey Cott) is one of our vets returning from the war and wanting so very much to be 'someone special.'  He, like all the others who returned, had his share of nightmares and no sleep.  His best friend, Rubber (as he was nicknamed) was killed by 'friendly fire.'  Donny was asked to 'take care of Julia, Rubber's wife." 

 

 

 

Fast forward....Donny meets Julia.   She has a beautiful voice and it sure comes in handy when Donny decides to start his own band to enter a contest in New York that would give him the path to his dreams.  This was not just ANY band, but a band comprised of only vets from all different branches of the service.  Each vet that Donny meets has his own nightmarish  experience but love of music has helped them through.

 

The vets who star in this musical, are also the musicians who play on stage.  Trombone, trumpet, drums, bass, and a crazy piano player, the 'band to be famous' starts on their journey to stardom.

 

 

 

Suffice it so say, the band is great, the 1940's swing music puts you 'in the mood,' and Julia Trojan (yes, her husbands' nickname was Rubber) is a sensational singer, this is more about brotherhood, dreams, relationships and healing.  Julia (Laura Osnes), plays her part perfectly as she slowly (but surely, of course), falls in love with Donny.  The band is now  called, The Donny Nova Band,  (sounds better "when you  get famous,"

 

How they get to stardom  is why you should see the show.  And the other reason is the audience.  Standing ovations, thunderous applause,  heart-wrenching reactions, bring the house down.  By the way, although Women's Lib wasn't popular in the 40's Julia got to keep her last name.  Yes, she was always used to the jokes!

 

 

Directed and choreographed by Andy  Blankenbuehler (the Tony Award-winning choreographer of “Hamilton,”)  with book and lyrics by the Broadway newcomers Richard Oberacker and Rob Taylor.

 

Nods to David Korins (Scenic designer) and Paloma Young (Costume designer) for on-the-spot reproductions of the 1940 era, right down to the light fixtures.

 

Cast Laura Osnes, Corey Cott, Beth Leavel, Alex Bender, Joe Carroll, Brandon James Ellis, James Nathan Hopkins, Geoff Packard, Mary Callanan, Max Clayton, Patrick Connaghan, Matt Cusack, Andrea Dotto, Marc A. Heitzman, Ryan Kasprzak, Andrew Leggieri, Erica Mansfield, Morgan Marcell, Drew McVety, Kevyn Morrow, Jessica Lea Patty, Becca Petersen, Kevin Quillon, Jonathan Shew, Ryan VanDenBoom, Jaime Verazin, Mindy Wallace, and Kevin Worley.

 

I would also like to acknowledge the  Theater Development Fund (TDF) for the open-captioned screen discretely, but clearly displayed on the side of the stage for those who might be hearing impaired or just may want to sing along with the music.  This is a great step for Broadway opening up it's arms to those who may have disabilities.

 

Bandstand’ plays an open run at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. 242 W. 45th St., For more information visit the bandstandbroadway website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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