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"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
"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
“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
“While many of the numbers have the propulsive feel of big-band swing, none of them are particularly memorable, and the generic ballads frequently stop the show dead in its tracks…Cott and Osnes are highly attractive and appealing performers, and they sing the hell out of their material…But for all the strenuous effort and good intentions evident in ‘Bandstand,’ it mainly demonstrates that if you’re going to drop the name Dachau in a musical, it needs to be far better than this one.” Full Review
“An undercooked slice of apple pie, served with a dollop of anguish…It’s respectful of veterans, but not of itself, ultimately quitting on its own ambitions...Mr. Cott has a crushing charisma…Ms. Osnes, a brunette with a silvery voice, puts real feeling behind Julia’s loss…But even fine actors can’t make this story more persuasive. If ‘Bandstand’ really worked, the finale would find you laughing and crying. Instead, you might just make like the dancers and shrug.” 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
"The cast is pitch-perfect...The catchy, beat-happy score pays homage to the big band era...Director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler seamlessly nods to 1940s popular dances in coming up with some lively, inventive moves, performed by some terrific dancers...All of this terrific entertainment and artistry is arranged around a plot that also recalls the 1940s, but ultimately not in a good way...The more the singing contest takes over the plot...the more the plot stumbles." Full Review
“An earnest and often-entertaining musical that never quite achieves its noble ambitions. Despite the fluid staging and evocative choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, an uneven book, undistinguished dialogue and only-serviceable tunes keep the show from meeting its deeper, darker and good-intentioned aspirations…Oberacker pens the mood-setting, pleasant and easily forgettable pastiche songs and lyrics...The cast is made up of solid performers, most of who play their own instruments.” 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
“What saves this from death by saccharine is the raw nerves of these veterans…It is their story that trails after you when you leave...It is too bad that the authors were not able to take a pair of clippers to the book, and the stunning lack of a resolution doesn’t help…Cott and Osnes positively crackle and the ensemble work is spectacular in every way. But the basics of ‘beginning, middle and end’ got left behind at the train depot. And all the big band music doesn’t quite make up for that.” Full Review
“I’m not saying it’s perfectly carried out, or even especially profound, but it remains almost compulsively faithful to its vision…The darkness of the background does not mean that the show forswears entertainment…Although it features some Golden Age attributes it is hardly at Golden Age level. But 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.” Full Review
“A sincere, upbeat, but overly sudsy and clichéd musical…They deserve a chutzpah Tony for creating a show in which the central characters are musicians who play, not the actual big band swing of 1945, when the show is set, but pastiches…While 'Bandstand' never overcomes the impediment of its ersatz tunes, exciting director-choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler keeps our eyes and ears glued to his inventive staging, jitterbugging, and boogie-woogieing.” Full Review
"The creative team has put a lot of hard work into this musical and it shows...Unfortunately, they couldn’t break with the show’s big final number and denouement, or shake a certain seen-it-before nature endemic to the familiar material...It’s a promising first effort and I dearly hope the creative team of Richard Oberacker and Rob Taylor can bounce back and dive right into another show...Now they need to learn from this and go out and do it again." Full Review
"The first act is straight off the rack, a concatenation of bone-tired clichés strung together on an unexpectedly interesting premise. The second act isn’t any more original, but it’s more agreeable, and you’ll likely feel that you’ve been sufficiently entertained by the time the curtain falls...Corey Cott and Laura Osnes, who play the bandleader and his vocalist, are fresh-faced and appealing...The kind of unchallenging show to which you might feel inclined to take your visiting grandparents." Full Review
“The conflict between what is and what should be is the powerful driving force behind this compelling evening…Oberacker and Taylor have created a heartfelt show that works well on its own terms...The music is of the bold and infectious variety…Too often, however, the songs aren't memorable…Blankenbuehler fares better, his staging brisk and fluid…Cott makes an arresting leading man…Osnes looks and sounds smashing, though she could dig a bit deeper to find more of Julia's defining darkness.” Full Review
“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
“A well-meaning mishmash of a musical…The authors’ idea is a good one…But the show backburners this thread for a conventional story…It’s a bit all over the place…Songs by Oberacker and Taylor are workmanlike and pleasant, but tend to be monochromatic…Musically it’s a blur. The physical production can be one as well…Blankenbuehler's large cast steps up. Cott is appealing and gives his all. Osnes sings like a dream — even when the material isn’t one.” Full Review
“A show that never allows us to digest the horrors of what vets go through…The cast is winning...Bender, Packard, Hopkins and Carroll are all terrific musicians and actors. Part of the problem with 'Bandstand' is that their stories are not fleshed out and we really do want to know them…Blankenbuehler’s direction is too dark and he chopped his choreography to shreds…I left the theatre wondering how a show that I was rooting for went so wrong." 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
“Blankenbuehler's production just never stops for a moment, sometimes at the expense of the narrative flow...The dancing is, however, spectacular…‘Bandstand’ has a serviceable score, although there is so much music that it often tends to blur…The book has moments of freshness and all kinds of potential, but it never strives enough for poetic heights or depth of characters…All in all, this is a show with some frustrations as well as many pleasures for the ear and eye.” Full Review
“The results, which intentionally jumble the dance focus in challenging ways, are visually and emotionally compelling. But for all that originality and a startling cast of virtuosos who play their own instruments like members of a genuine jazz-swing band, the show never overcomes the feeling that inside the heartfelt, meandering 2 1⁄2-hour evening, a 90-minute powerhouse is struggling to come out…The musical is both too much and not quite enough for a satisfying whole." Full Review
"There is great music; spectacular singing; a healthy, lively pulse; and athletic, creative dancing. The only problem in this show is that the creators barely give the piece a moment to catch its breath, constantly driving forward without a pause...It is in the calmer moments, sometimes too few and far between, that we can really feel attached to these tortured souls...The director needs to have more faith in our attention span." Full Review
“It has not been a spectacular season for dance on Broadway...There’s almost no competition for Blankenbuehler’s arresting choreography in the new musical ‘Bandstand’…All he needs now is a musical worthy of his talents. ‘Bandstand’ is not that musical…The book initially intrigues, because it’s so damned dark for a Broadway musical…Alcoholism, divorce, drugs, unemployment, and chronic war wounds are not a plot…The second act is one long uneventful slog to the big city.” Full Review
See it if You enjoy swing, incredibly well-danced shows and strong singing. The subject matter is extremely admirable and ambitious.
Don't see it if It doesn't dig as far into its dark core as it should. It's most of the way to a strong show but doesn't stick the landing.
See it if you want to see something in the realm of a classic, old-school musical. Great choreography and performances! Corey and Laura are perfect.
Don't see it if you want something that's super new and contemporary. This is definitely more for people who like the classics
See it if you like big band, swing, great dancing,singing, & story! Laura Osnes, Corey Cott WOW! Over Here music, but with serious relevant storyline.
Don't see it if I see no reason not to see it unless you absolutely HATE music of era. PS-Beth Leavel also great, but no room left in positive section.
See it if you want to see a show that has something important to say but says it in a fun way with great music.
Don't see it if you don't like musicals that are not completely happy all the time or you don't like swing music.
See it if you seek a sentimental (without being frothy), heartwarming, gripping, and awe-inspiring new musical headed by talented performers.
Don't see it if you dislike dance-heavy shows, romances, moments of PTSD (World War II flashbacks and references), and/or the "swing" and "big band" era
See it if you like a character-driven, moving musical with a healthy dose of dance and period piece.
Don't see it if you have a concern over trauma from heavy war storylines or you're looking for a funny, happy, glitzy, glam musical.
See it if you love engaging, powerful stories, strong performances, or even if you just love swing. There's really something for everyone.
Don't see it if you have young children in tow as the show contains honest discussions about the traumas of war
See it if you love Osnes & Cott; they give great performances in a meh show. Plot is silly, characterizations inconsistent, dialogue is leaden...
Don't see it if and the staging is cramped by the set. The cast is almost entirely white (why?) Disappointing lyrics, unmemorable music.
See it if you want to see an emotionally intense show about vets all w/ great big band music and cool choreo and AMAZING performances by whole cast.
Don't see it if the traditional structure of the musical slows the excitement and intensity of the subject matter down a bit. Musical is overlong by 20 min.
See it if you enjoy the music and dancing of post-WWII and care about the effects war can have on post-combat veterans. Plus awesome musicians.
Don't see it if you are in the mood for non-thought requiring fluff. You will feel & think things after the show.
See it if If you're into a show with a classical-type story, a catchy score and a revival of the original American musical on the modern stage;
Don't see it if If you're looking for something immersive or attempting to be unique, I'd skip this one.
See it if You like a show with a heart. It is very moving. The dancing is very smart and expertly executed.
Don't see it if You think it's like an Andrew's Sisters musical. It is not. It is very dramatic.
See it if you want a compasionate view of what it means to be a veteran in America, enjoy on-stage musicianship, & love the incomparable Laura Osnes.
Don't see it if you want to avoid an otherwise cut-&-paste plot, bland writing, & a disappointing score. Personally, I left only having enjoyed one song.
See it if You are in a military family, or know someone in the military. Starts in WWII great singing, great dancing
Don't see it if You don't like musicals or don't want to see a show set in the past.
See it if You love Laura Osnes/Corey Cott or want to see some of the best dancing on Broadway. It is physical storytelling.
Don't see it if You want a more original piece of theatre. Great tribute to veterans, but not a must-see.
See it if You have no expectations, and want to walk out pleasantly surprised. We saw this on a whim, expecting nothing, and were really entertained.
Don't see it if You're looking for a great show. This was good, but it won't change you, or make you think past once you've left the theater. Entertaining!
See it if Osnes is sparkling, Leavel & Ellis provide necessary comic relief; love the live music being performed on stage, Cott shows off multi-talent
Don't see it if Tragic start and early plot heaviness make for a dour first act; good finish makes me wish it was told from the perspective of Julia not Tom