Blankenbuehler returning to Broadway with 'The Bandstand'
Nov. 05, 2015
NEW YORK (AP) — The sound of swing will return to Broadway next season when director Andy Blankenbuehler leads "The Bandstand" to New York.
The story of six WWII veterans who join together in Cleveland to compete in a radio contest with dreams of stardom will star Laura Osnes and Corey Cott.
"I've always been passionate about the 1940s. Choreographically and stylistically, it resonates with me," said Blankenbuehler, a Tony Award-winner whose other Broadway credits include "Hamilton" and "Bring It On."
"When was the last time a musical had an original swing score and the swing score told the story?" Blankenbuehler said. "It's rare that a score is written and the story-telling narrative songs are in the period. So I'm really excited about that."
Osnes was on Broadway in "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella" and "Bonnie and Clyde," while Cott was in "Newsies" and "Gigi" opposite Vanessa Hudgens. The dates, theater and additional casting will be announced later.
The musical features a book and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor, and music by Oberacker. It made its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey this fall with Osnes and Cott, and drew interest for its frank handling of veterans dealing with PTSD and a culture in denial.
"It deals with the fact that often times we shut out and cannot communicate about the things that are a little ugly that are really bothering on a deep, deep level," said Blankenbuehler. "This is a piece about how artistry and honesty can heal the soul, whether it's about PTSD or whatever it is."
Blankenbuehler, who grew up on traditional musical theater, said the new work offers the audience the best of both this era and the past — complicated characters and the great music of swing.
"I feel in many ways that it doesn't work anymore. I feel like the audience requires more. They need things to move more quickly," he said. "So I felt that 'The Bandstand,' stylistically, gave me an opportunity to move the show fluidly while never losing the authenticity of the period."
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