‘Bandstand’ Is A Beautiful Tribute to Veterans
I had the pleasure of seeing Bandstand at The Washington Pavilion last night. I know I always say that I love musicals, so I enjoy all of them. But this was one of those experiences that I will not forget. Seeing this show on Veteran's Day just made it extra special.
Full disclosure, the only thing I knew about this show in advance was that it took place after World War II, but it is so much more than that.
In a nutshell, Bandstand is about a group of Veterans coming home to Cleveland after WWII and wanting their life to be like it was before, but nothing can be as it was before.
Donny Novitski hears about a National Radio Swing Band Competition to find an original song as a Tribute to the Troops. He decides to start a band made up of all Veterans. He was a notable local musician before the war. All the guys in the band are dealing with post war life in their own way. Obviously, the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder wasn't around then, but they are all having issues of their own.
Donny doesn't really sleep because he's dealing with the death of his good friend in the war, Davy drinks too much, Johnny has memory and pain issues due to an injury, and Wayne doesn't like to be touched and is obsessive compulsive.
There were some great moments on stage using imagery, dance, and symbolism to really portray the weight from the war that these characters were dealing with. Very powerful stuff.
Julia Trojan joins the band as the widow of Donny's Army buddy. There is more of a story there, but I don't want to give everything away.
All you really need to know right now is she can sing her butt off. She was played by Jennifer Elizabeth Smith and she gave me goosebumps so many times. That also goes for Zack Zaromatidis who plays Donny Novitski. So impressive.
Now, let's talk about the guys in the band. These guys in the band all actually play the instruments live on stage. Talk about triple threat! Singing, dancing, acting, playing an instrument. Again, so impressive.
I am literally listening to the soundtrack as I'm typing this because the music is so fun and catchy and poignant. I dare you not to get cry or at least get goosebumps during "Love Will Come and Find Me Again" or "Welcome Home".
Also, I would like to be able to shop through the costumes from this show. So many beautiful costumes. A few of the ensemble costumes I would literally wear right now. There is even a really cool costume change on stage in the Second Act. I love that!
Overall, the show is about this literal band of brothers, and one sister, that help each other out at a time when no one else really can. It also shows the healing power of music! Even though this show is set in the past a lot of the issues are still relevant today. It was done beautifully.
There is one more chance to see Bandstand at The Washington Pavilion. For more information click here.