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Bandstand

Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Great staging, Delightful, Great acting
82
Critics
72
63 reviews
Members
83
967 reviews
 

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.

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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.

 


Cast & Creatives (39)



Reviews (1030)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
72
Avg Score

80
Broadway News

"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

90
BroadwayWorld

"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

85
Time Out New York

“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

85
Theatermania

“‘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

35
The Hollywood Reporter

“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

65
Variety

“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

70
New York Magazine / Vulture

“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

60
The New York Times

“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

75
Cultural Weekly

"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

70
New York Theater

"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

60
Front Row Center

“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

80
Lighting & Sound America

"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

70
The Huffington Post

"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

70
Broadway Blog

“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

95
AM New York

“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

95
The Huffington Post

“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

70
Talkin' Broadway

“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

40
Times Square Chronicles

“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

65
Chicago Tribune

“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

60
New York Daily News

“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

75
Deadline

“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

74
Front Mezz Junkies

"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

60
Newsday

“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

55
The Wrap

“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

70
Theater News Online

"Buoyed by a pair of charismatic, well-sung performances by the equally gorgeous Corey Cott and Laura Osnes, a tuneful score by Broadway newcomers Rob Taylor and Richard Obercraker, and some dynamite 1940s-inspired choreography by Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler (who also directs), the show manages to prompt far more cheers than jeers – despite some unfortunate missteps in the book and execution." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
83
Avg Score

69
Great acting, Overrated, Slow, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want to see some great acting and some memorable characters. Want to see a show that deals with PTSD and veterans in a very honest way.

Don't see it if You want to go out singing songs from the show (only two were stand outs). If you have issues hearing words sung over loud orchestrations

Also I think I was expecting a bit more after rave reviews from a friend. T... Read more Read less

77
Moving, Entertaining, Fun, Imperfect

See it if you want to see a cross between a classic, heterosexual Broadway romance and a smartly-choreographed commentary on PTSD, veterans, and war.

Don't see it if you would be triggered by representations of PTSD or if you don't want a show that ties things up in a nice little bow by the end.

80
Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Great choreography

See it if you enjoy shows with great music, singing, acting and dancing,

Don't see it if you don't like shows with heavy themes (PTSD and war).

Also Saw this originally at Paper Mill Playhouse and the changes made impro... Read more Read less

70
Ambitious, Cliched, Great dancing, Unmemorable

See it if you want to experience the charm of Osnes & Cott & to see some great 40s-inspired dancing in an otherwise forgettable, cliche-ridden musical

Don't see it if you want to hear a memorable score or see a coherent, original story. [The Greatest Generation deserves a much greater musical.]

85
Great acting, Great singing, Great dancing

See it if you like original musicals, heavily choreographed shows with lots of dancing, swing music, and the two leads who give their all

Don't see it if you're not a fan of shows that deal with heavy subject matter, war and PTSD form the entire plot

74
Great singing, Beautiful staging

See it if you enjoy powerful lead vocals, great dancing, swing music, and an incredibly talented ensemble.

Don't see it if you are looking for a pure "feel good" show. War related PTSD, trauma, and loss are prominently featured.

82
Absorbing, Relevant, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like classic musicals or big band music. This is a lovely show and Laura Osnes & Corey Cott are really outstanding. Great choreography.

Don't see it if You are bothered by an almost entirely white cast for a musical about jazz music. It does seem odd & mars an otherwise fine piece of theater

82
Relevant, Cliched, Predictable, Entertaining, Patriotic

See it if you enjoy these excellent performers and/or would enjoy a love letter to our troops in the form of a Broadway musical. It moves on occasion.

Don't see it if you want originality of story, diversity of cast, or will hate that this took the choreography Tony "Holiday Inn" rightfully deserved.

Also The leads have a heartfelt platonic connection for 3/4 of the show, th... Read more Read less

70
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Overrated, Great singing, A classic musical

See it if you want to see a new musical that feels like an old classic; Laura Osnes &Cory Cott are fantastic. This was enjoyable but a bit forgettable

Don't see it if you want an edgy, inventive musical; if you're looking for something that pushes the boundaries of what musical theater can do.

92
Absorbing, Profound, Refreshing, Relevant, Riveting

See it if you love a moving, heartfelt story that involves fantastic singing and choreography. I gave a mid-show standing ovation for Laura Osnes.

Don't see it if You are sensitive to shows dealing with intense subject material such as the telling of war stories and characters struggling with PTSD.

76
Delightful, Romantic, Dated, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You enjoy old-fashioned musicals. Laura Osnes and Corey Cott were both great.

Don't see it if You don't like swing or you like more original theater works. The dancing was okay, but it did not deserve the best choreography Tony.

79
Brilliant musicianship. extraordinary talent. but tedious muddled story

See it if to hear the mesh of live onstage band with broadway orchestra. Endless, seamless movement on the stage. there is a good play in here.

Don't see it if you want a cohesive story. you want to see real dance rather than scattered moments of flash.

Also I really wish they would have concentrated on one thing, be it the PTS... Read more Read less

93
Entertaining, Great singing

See it if A solid show with a good moving storyline that is nicely developed. Great evening out for dance & music lovers.

Don't see it if Musicals aren't your favorite entertainment.

95
Delightful, Great acting, Resonant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You enjoy great music, singing and choreography. You enjoy a great story that involves veterans returning from war. Highly recommended.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals. Otherwise, this is definitely worth seeing.

75
Great acting, Indulgent, Great singing

See it if This play made me feel played. WWII vet forms band of all vets plus a woman who lost her husband. Patriotism ensues and a plot twist, etc.

Don't see it if If the title says "Bandstand" - you plan to be seeing Dick Clark's faves because that is not going to happen

89
Ambitious, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great singing, Great dancing

See it if you love swing dancing; you like seeing musicians play on stage; you like a good story with a happy ending

Don't see it if you need to come out humming the tunes; you don't like stories that deal with men coming home from combat

65
Cliched, Slow, Dated, Great singing, Great dancing

See it if you are patriotic and enjoy the swings.

Don't see it if you expect a more elaborate storyline on PTSD.

70
Disappointing, Cliched, Great singing, Uneven, Blandstand?

See it if you want a few good tunes and a few really well staged sequences, bring your conservative family members

Don't see it if You want to be wowed

Also For a best choreo winner theres not really that much memorable dancing... Read more Read less

79
Ambitious, Relevant, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Wartime musical with good not (with a couple of exceptions) great music. Generally upbeat although serious moments especially in Act 2

Don't see it if Don't want to see wartime sacrifices - loss & PTSD; don't want actors performing their own instruments on stage; want deep characters

Also Loved it when the band was playing even though songs often not great. ... Read more Read less

72
Disappointing, Overrated

See it if Don't mind the story being overwhelmed by being choreographed, Don't mind a hit and miss score. . Like talented musicians who can act.

Don't see it if Want any chemistry between the 2 leads. Want lots of good scenery This show looked done on the cheap..

80
Resonant, Great singing, Great dancing, Great musicianship

See it if You like a good love story and/or care about the challenges of veterans retuning from war. Music was not memorable except for Welcome Home

Don't see it if If you want to leave a show humming several tunes or if you aren't into swing.

Also The cast is filled with talented musicians, singers and dancers. The p... Read more Read less

83
Romantic, Fun, moving, great dancing

See it if you want to see a 1940's style swing musical about soldiers trying to readjust to life through forming a band & entering a national contest.

Don't see it if you don't like a dance heavy musical about romance blooming during the forming of a all soldier swing band and the widow of a soldier.

72
Refreshing, Romantic

See it if You enjoy music from that time in that style.

Don't see it if You don't adore music of that type or will not enjoy this tribute to an era.

79
Refreshing, Cliched, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like traditional musicals with excellent music and singing.

Don't see it if you're seeking edgy or innovative writing.

80
Intelligent, Intense, Resonant, Great singing, Great choreography

See it if you want to see talented performers featured incredibly well; you have a connection to the veterans and/or the military; enjoy great dancin

Don't see it if you find war stories triggering; don't like predictable stories