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Laura Osnes, Corey Cott, Bandstand

When I saw Bandstand at Paper Mill Playhouse, Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography was jumping and jiving. The show of course needed some polishing, but it was exciting and wonderful. I’m not sure what happened, but Andy Blankenbuehler the director cut a lot of his numbers (he is also the choreographer) to allowed Broadway newcomers Richard Oberacker and Rob Taylor, the book and lyric writers to re-write. The result is a show that never allows us to digest the horrors of what Vets go through. Instead from the moment the show starts, with “Just Like It Was Before,” we are thrown into a sarcastic jab at what soldiers who see the ravages of war and whose time away from home are faced with. Not only do they have to live with PTSD, but there lives are not here waiting for them. In a sense time has passed them by.

Laura Osnes, Corey Cott, Bandstand

Also different from the Paper Mill Playhouse version is Danny Novitski, (Corey Cott, Newsies, Gigi), who now takes center stage. Danny isn’t a lovable person from the get go. He is arrogant and now terribly messed up. We learn about his life in “Danny Novitski.“ According to the song, Danny was geared to be a star in Cleveland, but now no longer a young prodigy, younger artists have taken his place. It is 1945 and when Danny hears a national song contest on the radio called Tribute to the Troops!, he assembled a band of other vets to catch his break with “I Know a Guy,” one of the best songs in the show. Enter Nick Radel (Alex Bender ) on trumpet, Wayne Wright (Geoff Packard Matilda) on trombone, on bass Davy Zlatic (Brandon J. Ellis, Once), on Sax Jimmy Campbell (James Nathan Hopkins) and drummer Johnny Simpson (Joe Carroll, Cinderella). Each battling their own demons. Bands from all 48 state will compete to write and perform the next great swing song “in honor of our boys in uniform.” Donny’s band has chops, but it isn’t until Danny keeps his promise to his army buddy and looks in on his widow Julia Trojan (Laura Osnes), that the band takes off. Julia is a singer, a poet and hot tomato. When she sings the bluesy winning “Love Will Come and Find Me Again,” about a woman getting to date again after her love has not come home and is listed among the dead, the band places in the finals.

The contest is rigged in every aspect and the band jumps over every trench to make it onto the TV show, only to find out that by singing their song live, they get nothing in return. Making their final stand they sing the heart wrenching, defiant and painful “Welcome Home.” In the end there is a happy ending, but it seems a little MGM and fake considering the rest of the show.

Laura Osnes, Beth Level
The cast is winning. Laura Osnes (Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella) is at her prime. Vocally she knocks it out of the park and emotionally we care for her. She gives us layers of a person who has to move on, yet has been traumatized by her loss. As her mother thank-God for Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone) who breaks up the heaviness of this show. With so little to do, she makes the most out of every line and musical phrasing. Sadly the one song she is given “Everything Happens” is not a song worthy of Ms. Leavel or this show. Mr. Bender, Mr. Packard, Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Carroll are all terrific musicians and actors. Part of the problem with Bandstand is that their stories are not flushed out and we really do want to know them. Mr. Cott is handsome, sings and acts well, but we do not like him, therefore the show falls flat. The writers have created a character who we are not empathic with.
Andy Blankenbuehler’s direction is too dark and he chopped his choreography to shreds. In “Breathe” we see the ghosts of the men lost hanging on the shoulders and body of the musicians who survived. It is chilling. Rob Taylor and Richard Oberacker  book and lyrics fall flat and the music by Mr. Oberacker comes off as loud and for the most part noise, thanks to the sound design by Nevin Steinberg. A lot of the tunes are reminiscent of other songs from that era. What is outstanding is the orchestrations by Bill Elliot and Greg Anthony Rassen, which makes this music swing. The set design by David Korins, lighting by Jeff Croiter set the mood and are well done.
Who is Bandstand’s audience? I haven’t a clue. Will vets want to see this? I doubt it as the show is too loud, with no quiet moments to catch your breath. It starts out with a one two punch instead of easing us into this topic. I left the theatre wondering how a show that I was rooting for go so wrong. It pains me not to like this show, as I think vets have been given a raw deal and need to be acknowledged, this show however misses the mark.
Bandstand: Bernard Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th St.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:


The Glorious Corner



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:


… 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:

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.

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Backstage with Richie Ridge Presents



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.

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Backstage with Richie Ridge Presents The Outsiders



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.

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



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



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:

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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.

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