Bandstand: An American Musical review

A band of brothers


Kathryn Genest

Bandstand on Broadway

Kathryn Genest, Staff Writer

I had the great opportunity this past July to see the musical Bandstand on Broadway, which closed on September 17th, after a run of only 5 months. I was very upset to see it close, as I feel more people should’ve been able to experience this show.

Bandstand is a story that realistically portrays the lives of military families and how they are affected permanently, as stated by some military veterans that went to see the show during its run.

The main character, Julia Trojan (played by Laura Osnes), struggles to move on after the loss of her husband to the war. Donny Novinski (played by Corey Cott), a brother in arms of Julia’s husband, puts together a band of veterans to enter a competition in which the winner gets to have their song featured in a movie. He also puts together the band to distract himself from the emotional trauma he faces after returning from the war.

According to Caitlin Veneto, a student at Cappachiones School of Performing Arts in East Bridgewater, who saw Bandstand in July, “Cott played such a believable and lovable character and Osnes, as always, was lovely and held her character to heart.”

The veterans in the band all have very different personalities and different ways of dealing with their emotional scars.

All these diverse characters come together, despite their emotional wounds, to create beautiful music.

— Kathryn Genest

Kaitlyn Tully, a fellow student of Veneto at Cappachiones School of Performing Arts,  said Bandstand is “a great show that really highlights the soldiers’ PTSD and the mindset of people who have lost their loved ones.” As well as being an honest, beautiful, and captivating story, the music and choreography were effective.

According to Tully, “The choreography and vocals were outstanding, and topped with the  painfully honest, but always true to the character acting, it’s a beautiful piece of musical theatre.” The show received a Tony Award for best choreography. It was well deserved.

Andy Blankenbuehler (choreographer of hit musical Hamilton) created choreography that added to an already beautiful story, with intricate moves and transitions that just blew the audience away.

One scene in particular that resided with me was when Donny was at the piano and the ghosts of his brothers in arms leaned on it and dragged him along. This scene, especially, is what makes Blankenbueler a theater genius.

Richard Oberacker wrote the score that continues to give me chills again and again. As Veneto said, “The music is incredibly catchy and fun to listen to.” Months later, whenever I listen to the soundtrack, I feel the same amazement I did when I got to see the show for the first time.