Connect with us
Laura Osnes, Coey Cost, Bandstand
There is no way that this show is going to let you not pay it your full attention. This loud and fun musical, reminiscent of the old MGM ‘lets-put-on-a-show’ musicals that it references to throughout, starts out with an intense crack and never lets up, volume wise. Which is, in a way, it’s fun and it’s flaw. There is a lovely story in here about a man who survives a war, returns home to find that things can’t just return to what it once was, and that he is not the same young man either. His love of big band swing music hasn’t disappeared. His devotion to his best buddy who died by his side in that same war that he survived still sits strong and sure within his sense of duty, and his commitment to his word will end up being his savior from the weight many of the returning soldiers carry on their backs day after day. There is great music, spectacular singing, a healthy lively pulse, and athletic creative dancing, courtesy of director/choreographer, Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton). The only problem in this show is that the creators barely gives the piece a moment to catch its breath, constantly driving forward without a pause. It throws everything at us with a full force, energetic music along with anguish and post WW2 pain. All served at the same loud driving speed.  It’s like they don’t trust us to stay tuned in unless they are always feeding us something powerful.
Corey Cost, Bandstand

Corey Cost

The first five minutes of Bandstand bombard us with details and drama from World War II and the soldier’s return. It’s visually and emotionally overwhelming, throwing so much at us; almost too much to take in. Only later, when there is a pause, when the handsome and incredibly talented, Corey Cott (Newsies, Gigi) is allowed to be still just for a moment, just him and the piano, are we allowed to engage. Cott, as the leader of the soon-to-be-assembled band, sings a smart and catchy song, titled the same as his character, “Danny Novitski“.  We finally are able to connect, settle down into our seats, and take a breath after what was just thrown at us.
He finds salvation in his return to the smoke filled night clubs of 1945 Cleveland, alive and humming with the sound of swing. The band that Nick gathers together in hopes to win a National contest, are a perfect ensemble of ingredients, perfectly played by the impressive on-stage talent of James Nathan Hopkins as Jimmy Campbell, Brandon J. Ellis (Once) as Davy Zlatic, Alex Bender as Nick Radel, Geoff Packard (Matilda) as Wayne Wright, and my favorite of the bunch, Joe Carroll (Cinderella) as drummer, Johnny Simpson. Each one of his mismatched fellow WWII veterans band-mates are magnificent and keep the music thumping and flowing.  There is no doubt, but it is in the calmer moments, sometimes too few and far between, that we can really feel attached to these torchered souls. Figuratively, and sometimes literally, this solid band drags along their PTSD before it had a name other than depression or paranoia. Sometimes our demons even push our piano playing leading man forward, beautifully illustrating the heaviness within.  These moments are all the power, but more so when they take a breath and a pause.  Music, sometimes, is better when it follows a bit of stillness and silence.
The other major talent lies in the home of the beautiful young war widow, Julia Trojan, portrayed with a lively spark by the incredibly gifted Laura Osnes (Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella).  This woman can do it all, from singing a glorious church number to sliding right into a big band rocking “Right This Way“. Not to be sidelined by this woman playing her daughter, Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone) as mother Mrs. June Adams, has little to do, but some of the best and funniest deliveries in the whole show. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle!”  which is so true in the case of Leavel. The character is written with such wit and delivered up to us with such a unique strength that I was captivated, waiting for what was sure to be her “pull-it-together, daughter” moment that was sure to come somewhere in Act II.  And I wasn’t wrong, it did come, but the song, “Everything Happens” was a let-down. In my head, I thought we were going to be given a ‘Virginia Clark-ActII-Gigi‘ show stopping number, a performance that would lift us up, and cause us to soar through the skies, but Rob Taylor and Richard Oberacker (Broadway debut) who wrote the book and lyrics for Bandstand dropped the ball when it came to Leavel’s moment center-stage.  They had gifted her character endlessly with a great persona and wonderful lines, but at the crucial moment, her song barely lifted our chins.
But the swing music in Bandstand is a full meal and the main reason we have come to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.  Written by Oberacker, the sound of the show is spectacular.  A Big Band sound all the way around courtesy of music director: Fred Lassen, Co-orchestrations: Bill Elliott, Greg Antony Rassen; music supervisor/arranger: Rassen; and music coordinator: Howard Joines.  While many of the narrative songs fade to the background, the big show pieces fly. “I Got a Theory“, “Love Will Come and Find Me Again“, and the final song, “Welcome Home” work their magic on the crowd, just as beautifully as the set design by David Korins (Hamilton, War Paint), surprising us in Act II by giving so much more than expected. It opens up like a small town boy who finally arrives in the big city.  Same could be said of the  good work done by lighting designer, Jeff Croiter (Falsettos, Holiday Inn), costume designer Paloma Young (Peter and the Starcatcher), and sound designer Nevin Steinberg (Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton).
Bandstand relentlessly tries hard to give us all that there is to say about the attempt to return to normality after WW2.  In some ways, the director needs to have more faith in our attention span.  At one point in the show, I thought, if there is a moment of stillness on that stage, we should assume something has gone wrong.  That a piece of the set is stuck, or that something has happened to one of the horns. And you know what many say about wind instruments, breathing is what makes the music sing. So slow the beat down, take a deep breath in, and let us savor the talent being given to us.
So for more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Broadway

The Glorious Corner

Published

on

G.H. Harding

KNIVES OUT AGAIN — (Via Deadline) The next installment in the Knives Out series has its title. Writer/director Rian Johnson announced on social media this morning that the film will be called Wake Up Dead Man. It was also confirmed that the film would come out sometime in 2025 and that production would be under way soon with Daniel Craig returning to star.

Johnson returns as the writer and director of the series and will also produce the pic with his partner Ram Bergman. Plot details are unknown and as of now Craig is the only talent involved.

The most recent pic, Glass Onion, bowed in 2022 with Craig returning as world famous detective Benoit Blanc. The film premiered on Netflix after the streamer made a record setting $450 million deal for the two sequels with this being the third in the series.

SHORT TAKES — The trailer for Beverley Hills Cop 4 is out. Here it is:

Harold Faltermeyer

The theme for the movie sounds like a cheap re-working of “Alex F” an electronic instrumental track by German musician Harold Faltermeyer …

The Wallows

The Wallows, who I’ve never heard of, kicked off the Today Show Summer Concert series. When interviewed, each of them said they used to watch the show before they went to school. My, I wonder how that made the hosts feel? Even Carson Daly, who’s no kid either, must have batted an eye. Interesting band. Nothing special I saw, but good luck to them …

David Krumholtz

SIGHTING: David (Numbers) Krumholtz at the Factory Bar Friday for Trivia Night … (Via Theatermania) Grammy

Stephanie Mills

Award winner Stephanie Mills will return to Broadway to play Hermes in the Tony Award-winning musical Hadestown. Her first performance will be July 2, coinciding with the start dates of Maia Reficco and Yola. Mills takes over from Jon Jon Briones, who plays his final performance June 30. Mills originated the role of Dorothy in the first Broadway production of The Wiz in 1975. Her last appearance on Broadway was for a special concert in 1989 … The Washington Post will go full AI. Check out this story: https://futurism.com/washington-post-pivot-ai

Tracker

… A short Memorial Day-vacay in East Hampton was great. Checked out Sakura and was introduced to CBS’ Tracker with Justin Hartley. Smartly done and directed by Ken Olin from Thirtysomething. Impressed for sure …

Billy Joel

The Long Island Musical Hall of Fame abruptly canceled their June 7 event, honoring Billy Joel at Tilles Center.  Performers at the event were to be Run-DMC; Debbie Gibson; and Felix Cavaliere.  Joel said a family event would prevent him from attending …

RIP producer

Al Ruddy

. He produced The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby. Check out Deadline’s obit: https://deadline.com/2024/05/al-ruddy-dead-godfather-million-dollar-baby-1235942541/

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Marsha Stern; Jane Berk; Randy Jones; James Edstrom; Chuck Scarborough; Bill Adler; Dan Zelinski; Bobby Shaw; Mike Greenly; Mark Bego; Roy Trakin; Crispin Cioe; Steve Walter; Steve Paul; Lou Reed; Foreigner; Bobby Watman; Bobby Orlando; Adriana Kaegi; Thomas Silverman; Seymour Stein; Barry and Marissa Zelman; Dan Zelinski; and ZIGGY!

Images on this page have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Backstage with Richie Ridge Presents

Published

on

Drama Desk and OCC member Richie Ridge, of Broadway World’s Backstage with Richie Ridge, will moderate a discussion with Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James, both Drama Desk nominees for Lead Performance in a Musical for Days of Wine and Roses, at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29 at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Robin Williams Center (247 West 54th St., opposite Studio 54). Drama Desk members are invited. The doors will open at 1:30 p.m., and attendance is first come, first served. Latecomers may not be admitted.

Based on the 1964 movie about a couple falling in love in 1950s New York and struggling to maintain a family in the face of alcohol addiction, Days of Wine and Roses, with music and lyrics by Adam Guettel and a book by Craig Lucas, opened at Studio 54 on Jan. 28, 2024. O’Hara and d’Arcy James are both Tony nominees as well.

SAG-AFTRA Foundation and BroadwayWorld have partnered for a filmed Conversations Q&A series to recognize and celebrate the vibrant theater community in New York City and the actors who aspire to have a career on the stage and screen.

If you would like to attend, please fill out the form here. Be sure to select the Non-member option.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Backstage with Richie Ridge Presents The Outsiders

Published

on

Richie Ridge, of Broadway World’s Backstage with Richie Ridge, will moderate adiscussion with stars of the new Drama Desk– and Tony-nominated musical The Outsiders at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Robin Williams Center (247 West 54th St., opposite Studio 54). Members of the Drama Desk are invited to attend. The doors will open at 1:30 p.m., and attendance is first come, first served. Latecomers may not be admitted.

Participants in the panel will be Drama Desk and Tony nominees director Danya Taymor and lead actor Brody Grant, along with Tony featured actor nominees Sky Lakota-Lynch and Joshua Boone. With music and lyrics by Justin Levine and a book by Levine and Adam Rapp, The Outsiders, is a nominee for both Drama Desk and Tony Awards for best musical, opened at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on April 11, 2024.

SAG-AFTRA Foundation and BroadwayWorld have partnered for a filmed Conversations Q&A series to recognize and celebrate the vibrant theater community in New York City and the actors who aspire to have a career on the stage and screen.

If you would like to attend, please fill out the form here. Be sure to select the Non-member option.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Richard M. Sherman Songwriter for Mary Poppins and Jungle Book Passes On

Published

on

Richard M. Sherman, was a nine-time Academy Award nominee along with his brother Robert. The Sherman Brothers wrote more than 200 songs for some 27 films and 24 television productions. Their film credits include Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Parent Trap, Summer Magic tv, The Sword in the Stone, That Darn Cat!, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, The Happiest Millionaire, The Aristocats, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

The won two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, taking home the trophies for Best Score – Substantially Original and Best Original Song (for “Chim Chim Cher-ee”). They won three Grammy awards and received 24 gold and platinum albums and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the US National Medal of the Arts in 2008.

They also wrote the score on Broadway for Over Here.

The brothers were portrayed in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, which told the story behind the making of Mary Poppins.

Sherman died of age-related illness at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. His brother Robert died in 2012.

 

 

Continue Reading

Broadway

The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards And You Are There Part 2

Published

on

Yesterday we gave you part 1 of The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), awards ceremony held at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts 111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).

In this part Steve Guttenberg gives the award to Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: Jay O. Sanders – Primary Trust


Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical:
 Andrew Durand  Dead Outlaw

Current President David Gordon introduced Andrea Martin who gave away the awards for Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Jessica Stone – Water for Elephants

A special award was given to Harry Haun longtime OCC member who served on the board as well.

Outstanding Choreography (Broadway or Off-Broadway):Justin Peck —Illinoise

And the tie for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: William Jackson Harper, Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play: Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical: Dead Outlaw

Kelechi Watson presented the awards for Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kecia Lewis  Hell’s Kitchen

Outstanding Direction of a Play: Daniel Aukin – Stereophonic

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kelli O’Hara  Days of Wine and Roses


Outstanding New Broadway Play:
 Stereophonic

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/tIXP_MuVSPc?si=71j5Gq6Dt7RFyNqC” title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share” referrerpolicy=”strict-origin-when-cross-origin” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Suffs

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current President David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Cynthia Allen, Harry Haun, Dan Rubins, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating). Lauren Yarger serves as the Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony executive producer.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles

Times Square Chronicles