In honor of Veterans’ Day, this week I’m pre-posting the SUNDAY SHOWSTOPPER SNIPPET with a big ‘thank you.’ Thank you to those who have served. Thank you to the families and friends who struggled and struggle while awaiting their return home. Thank you to those who are waiting to be reunited with those who have given their lives in service to our country.
BANDSTAND was a love letter to our men and women in uniform, specifically, in this case, those returning, and not, from WWII. The show ran on Broadway from April to September, 2017. I almost skipped seeing this show – the title confused me. I expected it to be a plot-less happy, tappy, clappy jukebox musical about the jazzy, brassy big band music of the 1940s. I purchased same-day tickets for a matinee after an early-morning arrival in NYC, expecting it to bounce me awake. What I received was a gift – the gift of eye-opening story telling by tremendously talented quad-threat performers (actor/singer/dancer + musician) with a tremendous score, and Andy Blankenbuehler’s masterful direction and Tony winning choreography. In any other season, this show may have been a runaway hit, but, with the crowd of new and continuing musicals (Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, Anastasia, Hello Dolly, Sunset Blvd., Groundhog Day, Bronx, War Paint, Hamilton, and others), Bandstand was simply lost in the bright lights. I’m hopeful that they’ll either tour the show or release the archive video for Fathom or PBS screening, or all three!
“Welcome Home,” sung by Laura Osnes, is a raw and beautiful poem set to music. The song does not ‘welcome’ as a purely joyful ticker-tape parade. Rather, it recognizes the profound sacrifice that our men and women in uniform make, and continue to make, upon their return “home.” Life is rarely ‘the same’ as the life they knew when deployed. Some must deal with physical changes; many must deal with PTSD; all must find their ‘new normal.’
For more on BANDSTAND, see my August, 2017 column HERE.