Set in the swing-fueled nightclubs of post-WWII America, this against-all-odds story of a singer/songwriter and his band of mismatched fellow vets comes to Broadway. Starring two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes. More…
When a national contest to find America’s next music sensation offers a chance at fame and Hollywood fortune, Donny (Corey Cott) must whip his boys into fighting shape. Teaming up with a beautiful young war widow (Osnes) as their singer, and playing for every voiceless underdog in a world that has left them behind, they will risk everything to redefine the meaning of victory. Directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler ('Hamilton,' 'In the Heights'), and featuring an original, swing-inspired score, 'Bandstand' is an American celebration of the men and women whose personal bravery defined a nation.
“It’s not going too far to suggest that the enthralling musical beats with the kind of heart that throbs throughout ‘South Pacific’…Arguably the best new musical of the season…Oberacker and Taylor have written a work that brims with honesty…Osnes gives the performance of her career so far. The voice is pure as mountain water…The purity of her acting is what lifts her into a new performing stratum. Less well known, Cott finds every dimension of heartsick, furious, talented Donny.” Full Review
“An urgent testimonial to the healing and restorative power that the arts can have...Oberacker and Taylor created a swinging original score that not only captures the period style but also digs deep into the characters. The music is so tightly integrated into the script that ‘Bandstand’ becomes unusually powerful musical theater...Blankenbuehler does a stunning job as both director and choreographer.” Full Review
“I think it’s certainly the best musical of the season, and Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor’s score definitely one of my favorites…What could have so easily been nostalgic hooey is deeply humane, always engaging and even moving. With ‘Bandstand,’ Blankenbuehler joins the ranks of the truly great director-choreographers…Both Cott and Laura Osnes tend to get cast as stereotypical ingenues, but here they give riveting performances as full, conflicted human beings.” Full Review
“Corey Cott (as Donny) is Broadway's newest superstar. Laura Osnes (Julia) is perfect in her leading role. We see brilliant performances from the quadrupally talented Joe Carroll on drums, Brandon James Ellis on bass, & James Nathan Hopkins on sax...The score is fun and catchy, led by two emotional show-stoppers ‘Love Will Come and Find Me Again’ and especially ‘Welcome Home.’ The latter has a haunting chorus while revealing the struggles our heroes face.” Full Review
"Exhilarating, adventurous and immensely moving...As toe-tapping entertaining as it is poignant...The writing and acting is perfectly on pitch...Director/choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler's slam-bang production, continually on the move, ingeniously uses his ensemble to not only express the new freedoms post-war Americans felt with the latest dance crazes, but also to symbolize the internal struggle of its heroic main characters." Full Review
"Taylor and Oberacker did a fine job turning the story into a deeply engaging and moving work. With high intensity and just the right touch of humor, they deal sensitively with the emotional issues plaguing each of the characters, while director/choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler put it into exhilarating motion…The music is appealingly catchy...With nary a false note in this production, 'Bandstand' creates sweet harmony from the dissonance of war." Full Review
"It is a stand-up-and-cheer great new musical that should not be missed...A war-story cliche or two might find space in the script...But much of the show's excellence comes from its treatment of the veterans as real people...Wonderful story and performances notwithstanding, much of its dazzle finds root in Andy Blankenbuehler's direction and choreography...It is at bottom an excellent new musical full of wonderful performances and bold, finely crafted music." Full Review
"The whole of 'Bandstand' is such a striver, every craftsman-artist, every performer artist at peak, especially choreographer-director Andy Blankenbuehler...A swirl of emotion and entertainment that never falters...Wonderful dancers who sing. Wonderful singers who dance. Wonderful actors who sing and dance, are funny, and heartbreaking. And play instruments. Head-shakingly amazing...In a season of many gifts 'Bandstand' stands very high." Full Review
"An impressive work as it takes what might sound like a cliché and turns it into a meaningful work that is fun without being frothy, and serious without being somber...The entire cast is terrific as each band member is able to etch a character who rises above stereotype...Director-choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler keeps the dances vibrant and exciting. More importantly, he tells an emotionally complex story with clarity. 'Bandstand' is a delight that is compassionate, entertaining and truthful." Full Review
“The resonant original musical ‘Bandstand' dances a delicate line between nostalgia and disillusion…The terrific group dance numbers burst with snazzy individuality. But 'Bandstand's' heart is in its shadows...As the stakes rise, the score moves from pleasurable pastiche to a climax whose impassioned call for attention to the plight of veterans recalls the socially engaged lyrics of E.Y. Harburg. The show defies you not to be moved by its valiant band of brothers.” Full Review
“‘Bandstand’ explores the undeniable power that art has to change the world…It also benefits from first-rate direction and choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler…In terms of style, 'Bandstand' is refreshingly old-fashioned…Osnes performs her two big numbers with a blistering intensity that is thrilling to behold. While not all of the songs fit comfortably in Cott's range, his work is as alive as it gets. It's an exhilarating, star-making turn." Full Review
“A strong message along with a remarkably talented cast…If you love the era of swing music, dance and saddle shoes, you’re a good match for ‘Bandstand’...The deeper and darker side of this story never lets up, but it is eased by the crackerjack perpetual whirling, twirling and tapping group of ace dancers to high-energy new swing sounds…Cott has emerged as a new leading man with his strong and powerful, yet edgy, charisma and fantastic vocals, aided by his lively dancing abilities." Full Review
"Equally appealing to the ear and the eye. Since ‘Bandstand’ is emotionally complex and largely unsentimental, it's likely to connect with the intellect and the heart of spectators of many, perhaps all, ages. But what audiences will remember most is Blankenbuehler's stunning dances performed by a talented corps of idiosyncratic Broadway professionals…'Bandstand’ is superbly cast...A touching, funny, dry martini of a musical.” Full Review
"The most refreshing and imaginative of the bunch of recent arrivals...It’s not all pastiche, not by a long shot. There is youthful invention everywhere...As Donny Novitsky, his current role, Cott delivers a true star turn–as singer, actor, dancer, and pianist he dominates just as his character does...If 'Bandstand,' as the last musical entry of the season, is a hint, we have reason to hope we’re in for a good time in the year ahead." Full Review
"While it flirts with cliche almost to the point of marriage, 'Bandstand' manages to stay on message and deliver a genuinely heartfelt and affecting story about the greatest generation's return home from World War II...Together this cast keep the energy high and the story blasting forward. Where 'Bandstand' succeeds to its fullest is in the music. Whether it's played by the orchestra or the cast, it's nothing short of perfect...'Bandstand' is so good that you don't think about its blindspots." Full Review
“‘Bandstand’ raises the stakes on a storied cliché…Oberacker and Taylor bring an innocence and vitality to a story every boy and girl imagines, and which the show’s creators run with to the heights…What a pleasure it is to hear Oberacker’s compositions…Laura Osnes does a remarkable acting job…‘Bandstand’ is a laudable work steeped in classical American music and dance styles, with a nostalgic sense of storytelling that still requires attention.” Full Review
"Has all the ingredients necessary to make a Broadway hit: catchy songs that stay in your head...extraordinary choreography and a captivating story of war, love, and perseverance...Although undoubtedly an excellent piece of theater, there seems to be something somewhat dated about it...Although it’s possible that you’ll foresee a plot twist, embrace it, as 'Bandstand' is just as likely to jolt you alert, reduce you to tears, and ultimately, bring you to your feet." Full Review
"All of these songs unfold in an onstage world jittery with energy, maddened by an irresistible swing beat, thanks to the tightly coiled staging of director/choreographer Blankenbuehler...Cott drives the action as Donny, offering galvanic vocals...Osnes finds a surprising (and welcome) amount of steel in Julia...Even in its more formulaic moments, the show continues to surprise. And its central point remains steadfast: These men risked everything for their country—attention must be paid." Full Review
"Some of its material may be straight from the stock shelves, but 'Bandstand' has more than a few fresh notes up its sleeve—mostly blue ones...Blankenbuehler infuses the proceedings with a surging dynamism that virtually never lets up...Cott rips into the role of Donny with a vitality that scrubs away any of the role’s surface familiarity...Osnes, too, deserves some major love for revitalizing what might be a plain-Jane ingénue role...It’s a populist crowd-pleaser." Full Review
“The songs are good, not great. Some serve to delve into character (Donny's ‘Donny Novitski,’ Julia's ‘Who I Was’) and some move the plot along (Julia and Donny's ‘First Steps, First,’ the Band members' ‘I Know a Guy’ and ‘A Band in New York City’) and, of course, there are love songs (Julia and Donny's ‘This is Life’ and ‘Welcome Home’). The songwriters have a feel for the period but their numbers are pale compared to the colorful popular tunes of that era.” Full Review
“Oberacker and Taylor’s score, with punches of contemporary rhythms, is fierce and athletic, reminiscent of ’40s swing…Cott and Osnes, both attractive performers, are also both expressive singers and define their characters, and their slowly growing romance, with nuance...This is an intense story, yet uplifted by high-flying energetic song and dance, humor, strong performers, and the life-affirming promise of music.” Full Review
"The joy of experiencing 'Bandstand' is seeing an original musical...The subject matter is familiar but still relevant today...The book seems contrived and you can see how things are going to fall in place. However, the score is transporting and the sound of the big band/swing era is exhilarating...With 'Bandstand' you may feel you’ve seen this plot before, but who cares? Among the swing music, vitality, sound, Ms. Osnes and Mr. Cott, it is an evening of sheer delight." Full Review
“Successfully toes the line between nostalgia and refreshing realism…The show’s cast manages to capture these characters as both charismatic underdogs and the complex survivors whose joy always has a darker tinge…Audiences looking forward to buoyant swing dance numbers won’t be let down here…The choreography works as an equal collaborator that elevates the book and score…The choreography physically expresses the Big Band beats of Oberacker’s score.” Full Review
“It is to Blankenbuehler’s credit that the dazzling through-line of movement makes 'Bandstand' as much about dance as it is about music…The movement in 'Bandstand' is seamless and eye-popping, managing an astonishing feat…Oberacker and Taylor are clearly well versed in the musical idioms of the period and whose more-than-serviceable songs range from torchy ballads to roof-raising anthems...I have to wonder how this show was cast without a single non-Caucasian among the principals." Full Review
"Employing identically dressed chorus members, Blankenbuehler creates a shattered hall-of-mirrors vision of protagonist Donny’s wartime memories...The plot follows a cliched track...Fortunately, Taylor and Oberacker delve deep into the traumas suffered by Donny and his crew and the score cleverly uses period music to create mood and explore the theme of the vets’ alienation...'Bandstand' does sing a familiar tune, but it has drawn up some new and arresting arrangements." Full Review
See it if you love amazing choreography, want a truthful story of WWII veterans and their experience after coming home from war
Don't see it if you have bad experiences with war, or you dont enjoy the 1940s costumes and music type
See it if you love classic musicals with a twist or if you enjoy unique staging that plays with the border between outer and inner reality.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy live bands. Much of the music is more focused on instrumentations rather than just voice, as a lot of musicals are.
See it if - you love musical theater - you appreciate fantastic singing - you value those who have made sacrifices for this country
Don't see it if - if you dont enjoy swing music and dance
See it if you love classic musicals, Andy Blankenbuehler, or dance heavy shows. Longer description below
Don't see it if you don't like jazz, any of the creators or actors involved, dance heavy shows, or shows about war. Can be a little too heavy for some.
See it if Loved it!!!! If you want a really good night at the theater, with some Big Band nostalgia, this is for you! A true feel good experience!
Don't see it if I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this. Even the younger generation will love this, and will walk away with a feel for this era.
See it if you like the "Good Old Days" of musicals. Lots of entertainment and dancing. At the end, the audience stood up & cheered.
Don't see it if your very young and expect hip hop or new music. This is "Mom Jeans", that fit well. Old fashioned but not stale.
See it if Music, dance and the big band is your thing excellent acting, amazing dance numbers. Cannot begin to say enough great things about all
Don't see it if You don't love a musical : it's so good with a message!'
See it if You enjoy Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, people playing their own instruments on stage, amazing choreography, or if you are a WW2 veteran
Don't see it if you don't agree with Lin Manuel Miranda's opinions because he loves this show
See it if you want to be happy and proud to be an American and to honor those who have served our country proudly. An inspiration and hats off to cast
Don't see it if you do not want to jump out of your seat and clap and clap and clap with joy!
See it if you want to see what, any other year, would have been award winning leading man and women. Great musicianship. Great singing. Great dancing.
Don't see it if you don't like swing
See it if Amazing dancing and singing! It's a great story. Very funny at times but also realistic about things that went on in WWII.Also the costumes!
Don't see it if You don't like swing or big band music. Realities of war
See it if You care about veterans' issues, particularly PTSD. Even if that is not your focus, see it for wonderful music and amazing dance routines.
Don't see it if You don't enjoy superb song and dance of if you feel triggered by veterans' issues.
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