The final two shows of the trip! It’s an Andy Blankenbuehler special! It’s a very late post, but the jet lag has been winning me over. I ended my trip with two wonderful and very American shows. I was worried (particularly with Hamilton) that I wouldn’t feel a connection to the shows but I pleasantly enjoyed Bandstand and, as expected, Hamilton was simply perfection.
Bandstand follows a group of war veterans who collaborate with the wife of a deceased war veteran to compete in a national bandstand to win the chance to appear in a MGM movie with Frank Sinatra performing their winning song. Richard Oberacker & Robert Taylor’s music and lyrics are incredibly lively with added swing that had me leaving the theatre feeling elated on a Saturday night on Broadway. What’s incredible about this is that we get to see the Donny Novo band playing their instruments 100% live during the scenes with the band’s performances. The Donny Novo band is led by Corey Cott who stars as Donny Novitski. He is a real wonder on stage and I’m surprised he didn’t get at least a Tony nomination for his performance. (Let’s be real, no one was going to win over Ben Platt but he should’ve had the recognition in my opnion!) Along with his powerful voice he is carries the show with incredible determination and strength, making him the perfect match to play an incredibly determined and strong character. Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes plays Julia Trojan, the widow of Michael who was fighting alongside Donny. I’ve been wanting to see Laura perform for years now, having listened to her on the Bonnie & Clyde album since 2012. Laura is a delight and brings such warmth to the character as well as an amazing set of pipes. Her vocals could move mountains, she’s incredible. And I was super happy to get a photo with her at stage door. (Seeing Bonnie and Clyde in the same week was so exciting for my little stagey heart.)
Andy Blankenbuehler has created a very good show but at the same time I can see why it didn’t get nominated for Best New Musical at the Tonys. It was an enjoyable and moving story but I could predict what was going to happen at the end. The show was best choreography at the Tonys but I think it should’ve gone to Great Comet. Andy also did the choreography for Hamilton which was so slick and really enhanced the story. And I didn’t think it did that in Bandstand, it was very lavish and explosive and, truth be told, I found it distracting.
However, a really great thing about this show is that it is certified by the Got Your 6 organisation. The organisation certifies pieces of work that accurately portray & normalise experiences by veterans. If you’d like to find out more then please check out https://gotyour6.org/programs/6-certified/.
Overall, Bandstand is a very good show but I don’t see it having a long life on Broadway, but I do recommend listening to the cast album which has just been released.
Stay tuned for my post on Hamilton!
Until next time,