Laura Osnes, Corey Cott



by: Maryann Lopinto



THE BANDSTAND is a new musical which opened at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn New Jersey, known for nurturing new musicals and revivals. Last season THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and EVERLASTING, both based on the movies, made debuts at this theater. This season, in addition to THE BANDSTAND, another new musical based on a motion picture, A BRONX TAIL, with music by ALan Menkin and lyrics by Glenn Slater and directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks, will open in February. Also on their schedule is A CHRISTMAS STORY, PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES and the classic WEST SIDE STORY.

THE BANDSTAND is a brand new original musical not based on a movie.play or bookl It’s a big band swing musical with music, book and lyrics by Richard Oberbacker who, besides writing musicals, is currently musical conductor For Cirque du Soleil’s “Ka” in Las Vegas. Robert Taylor is his co-writer on book and lyrics. Broadway’s Andy Blankenbuehler directs and choreographs the show and is currently represented on Broadway with the award winning HAMILTON.

The story is about five military veterans who decide to form a band and compete in a national radio contest with the prize of seeing their performance in a motion picture and the fame it brings. Corey Cott, late of GIGI, plays Donny who puts the band together. He has made a promise to his soldier buddy, who was killed, that he would check in with his wife if anything happened to him. That he does. Laura Osnes plays the widow and when he finds out that she can sing (which she does at church), he talks her into joining the band. They need to raise money to travel to New York for the audition and they play every gig they can. Beth Leavel plays Julia’s mom.


This is a small staged musical, similar to RADIO DAYS. The songs swing like the classics of the times with some touching sentimental pieces sung by Laura, Corey and Beth. The five soldiers all play their own instruments (Joe Carroll, Brandon Ellis, James Nathan Hopkins, Geoff Packard, Joey Pero). DSC00004

Theater Pizzazz was on the scene to capture curtain calls.

Bandstand runs thru November 8th www.papermill.org

Photos: Maryann Lopinto