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Blueprint Specials

From 10 critic and 20 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Dated, Delightful, Great singing, Funny

About the show

Tony nominees Laura Osnes and Will Swenson star in Waterwell's staging of vintage revues, originally created for and performed by WWII soldiers. Part of the Public Theater's Under the Radar festival. More…

Created by iconic musical theater artists of the era like Frank Loesser ('Guys and Dolls'), these original revues were designed as “blueprints” for soldiers to easily mount in the field. The Army packaged and distributed them as a complete script, with score and orchestrations, scenic and costume drawings, and instructions for how to put on the show. In a nod to the originals, 'Blueprint Specials' will be performed on the hangar deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, with a cast of showbiz pros and active military personnel and veterans. This will be the first staging of these musicals since 1945—and the first ever for the American public.

Talkin' Broadway

"The artists behind the original works were uniquely gifted…The wispy, of-its-time plot is crazy but delightful…It is absolutely, gloriously priceless and irreplaceable. The songs are electrifying…And there's no fault to be found with the cast…For writing that was considered all but disposable and inconsequential in its time, it reminds us more than any show in recent memory just how stirring, important, and even transformative musical theatre can be at its most honest and most uplifting best." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Although the broad, unsophisticated humor hasn’t aged particularly well, the show is nonetheless great fun, both for its time-capsule qualities and the catchy score...Unsurprisingly, veteran performers Osnes and Swenson are terrific...Watching the show aboard the massive aircraft carrier that was decommissioned in 1974 after serving from World War II through the Vietnam War is an uplifting and novel experience." Full Review


“While the topical material (mainly by Auerbach) and the 20 musical numbers (eight of which are by Loesser and two by famed Hollywood composer Alex North) are dated and relate to the army and army life, particularly the then recent addition of the WACs (Women's Army Corps, the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the U.S. Army), the jokes still register and the unfamiliar melodic and syncopated songs are delightful.” Full Review

New York Theater

"Could not be more deftly staged, from the creation of a pop-up theater on the hangar of an actual World War II aircraft carrier (the Intrepid, now a museum) to the casting of both bona fide Broadway stars and active duty military officers and Armed Forces veterans...Are these Blueprint Specials replicable now beyond the few performances of the theater festival? It would not surprise me at all if this soldiers show were given a promotion to Off-Broadway." Full Review

AM New York

"This is an impressively elaborate production, with a full-size jazz band and a 34-person cast that includes active and veteran members of the U.S. military...The songs and dialogue may not be especially noteworthy today, but it was based upon a rare pairing of musical theater talent and the armed forces that is unlikely to ever be repeated and deserves to be recognized in such a loving fashion." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"It’s 95 minutes of non-stop tunes, sketches and comedy skits, some that land well, others that definitely feel 70-years old, with a talented cast of singers and dancers…'Blueprint Specials' is a wonderful piece of American history that many would find exciting and especially heartwarming to see given that the ensemble is made up of a compendium of some retired and active military who morph seamlessly into a body of professionals." Full Review

British Theatre Guide

"On the plus side, we were presumably witnessing the pick of the material, some of which was probably more than a little thin. Against that, the plotting is rarely deep...The songs are generally upbeat, which helps the dance routines...Ultimately, 'Blueprint Specials' is a well-presented variety show that helps viewers to understand what was done to alleviate the stresses of war and also showcases much talent and an extraordinary venue." Full Review


"An unmissable historical curiosity, if not a particularly great musical…An old-fashioned physical comedian, Mattfeld runs away with the show...Unfortunately, not every actor pops quite as much, and Ridgely's breezy direction leaves some performances blowing in the wind. Still, there is a DIY spirit that feels appropriate…The intent of the work doesn't always translate to a modern audience…Theatrical slack aside, 'Blueprint Specials' is mostly watchable and undoubtedly fascinating." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"The show, which was performed on the huge hangar deck of the USS Intrepid, the decommissioned ship that is now a sea, air and space museum, maintained the sweet and silly humor of its 1940s origins. I appreciated it more than I was amused by it. But it did get me thinking about what kind of entertainment the folks now defending us are getting." Full Review

The New York Times

"The new production retains this informal, let’s-put-on-a-show air, with simple sets and a spirited cast that includes professional performers alongside former and current members of the military...The book scenes are stuffed with hoary or musty jokes. But they fill the space between songs with sufficient good humor, as performed with winking gusto by the likable young cast. Still, 'Blueprint Specials' is not likely to maintain a foothold in the repertoire...Much of it has naturally dated." Full Review

Entertaining, Educational, Fun

See it if You enjoy WWII era music and humor. I felt like I was of the GIs in 'White Christmas' watching the troops perform. Silly scenes & patriotism

Don't see it if You need a fast paced show

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great singing

See it if Liked USO shows fr WWII. Being on the Intrepid, respect the armed forces, like the military life. You like piazz and cleverness.

Don't see it if If you are looking for all the bells and whistles. Don't like military life or love America. You are not interested in corny jokes

Delightful, Great staging, Great singing, Fluffy, Atmospheric

See it if you're a history buff, love site-specific theater, just wish you could watch an extended version of that opening scene from White Christmas

Don't see it if You need a deep plotline to follow

Delightful, Funny, Quirky, Entertaining, Resonant

See it if you would like a glimpse into history. Experience the entertainment as if you were over seas during WWII watching your fellow troops perform

Don't see it if you don't enjoy silly scenes with a side of patriotism

Historically important, Dated, Entertaining, Energetic, Resonant

See it if You would like to experience an entertainment show from the WWII era the way the servicemen did--this is as close as you will ever get!

Don't see it if Corny yet sweet dialogue and lyrics put your teeth on edge.

Also This show was a complete delight--everyone was in top form, enthusiast... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Dated, Fluffy, Great singing, Slow

See it if you want to experience a piece of musical theatre history or if you want to see Laura Osnes or Will Swenson up close and personal.

Don't see it if you want a strong plot- or character-driven story or can't handle non-padded seating in very close quarters.

Clever, Delightful, Funny, Great singing

See it if you are looking for a completely unique experience that aims to go beyond pure entertainment and make you think.

Don't see it if no reason not to see it unless you can't handle sitting on uncomfortable little wooden chairs for two hours!

Great singing, Refreshing, Nostalgic

See it if See Laura Osnes and Will Swenson in a small show. There's plent of great performers, don't know which are vets until curtain call. Go see it

Don't see it if You can't appreciate USO shows or allow yourself to be transported there via the Intrepid.

Also In our current political climate, it actually made me recall what this... Read more Read less

Delightful, Dated, Entertaining

See it if you are interested in old school musicals and Laura Osnes. She always shines.

Don't see it if you are expecting a modern show. It's dated but it works!

All aboard the intrepid for a trip back in time

See it if Top 1940s Bway & Hollywood creatives at the top of their games wrote & designed musicals for the troops to perform. Loesser's songs are more

Don't see it if Pro & amateur cast shine. The dancers are fab. Osnes is swell but Swenson is given little to do. Lovely 14 piece band. A unique experience

Quirky, Fluffy, Funny, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if it gets restaged again somewhere else. You're feeling nostalgic and up for light-hearted entertainment.

Don't see it if you're anti-American.

Ambitious, Dated, Entertaining, Relevant, Great dancing

See it if Can-do musical sketches for WWII G.I.'s prove both entertaining & suprisingly patriotic. Ridgely's direction snappy & Connor's choreo shines

Don't see it if A little too long; sketches tend to blur & period humor flat but Osnes & Swenson bring star quality & Mattfeld steals the show as Sad Sack

Entertaining, Dated, Interesting staging, Funny

See it if seeing a lost musical revue that has never been staged for the public interest you

Don't see it if sexist, misogynistic military jokes and references annoy you

Entertaining, Great singing, Dated, Refreshing, Nostalgic

See it if want an old-fashioned musical, in a unique setting (a deck on the Intrepid) with a very good cast. It's a fun, hooky type of evening

Don't see it if don't like musicals of the 40's, want to hear Will Swenson sing more than one song.

Dated, Entertaining, Fluffy, Romantic

See it if you want a truly mindless evening at the theater.

Don't see it if you want to actually engage critically with work at all and/or you want an interesting musical experience.

Delightful, Entertaining, Dated, Funny, Indulgent

See it if You like light comedy, sexual innuendo and a taste of 1940s variety show entertainment. Laura Osnes never dissapoints; the Intrepid is cool

Don't see it if You need a polished production; runs a little long and a little slow through the second half; very uncomfortable seats after an hour

Funny, Entertaining, Unique, Old fashioned

See it if you want to experience a combo of historical military musicals that haven't been performed in years and never before for civilians.

Don't see it if you don' like shows that are mostly skits and songs and related to miltary matters.

Shallow, Bubbly, Light

See it if You want to watch a musical about the army and aren't looking for anything challenging.

Don't see it if You don't want cliches.

Delightful, Great singing, Fun, Fluffy

See it if you want to experience a fun site-specific show. See this for the experience and super talented cast!

Don't see it if you don't want to make the trek over to 12th Ave or enjoy more modern musicals.

Cliched, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Insipid

See it if you're fascinated with the idea of a prepackaged musical for troops to stage and are willing to take a sacrifice in quality for the concept.

Don't see it if you won't be able to overcome the simplicity, cliches and propaganda inherent in the content given that it was a midcentury military musical

Cast & Creatives (40)