‘Bandstand’ opens July 12 and will run through Aug. 20 at West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park.
“Bandstand” (music by Richard Oberacker, with book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker) will run at Playhouse on Park July 12 to Aug. 20, 2023. According to the New York Times, “Bandstand” is “both a peppy celebration of can-do spirit and a more somber exploration of what American servicemen experienced when they marched home from World War II. It’s a great argument for why theater can sometimes tell a story more boldly and more viscerally.”
This production will be directed by Sean Harris, with music direction by Melanie Guerin, and choreography by Darlene Zoller and Robert Mintz. “Bandstand” is the final production of Playhouse on Park’s 14th Main Stage Season, the theme of which is “Perseverance.” This season highlights stories of fighters and survivors, to coincide with the Playhouse’s journey of persevering through the pandemic. The Presenting Sponsor of Playhouse on Park’s 2022-23 Season is The Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
It’s 1945. American soldiers return home to ticker-tape parades and overjoyed families, and Private First Class Donny Novitski, singer and songwriter, returns with the hope of rebuilding his life. When NBC announces a national competition to find the nation’s next swing band sensation, Donny joins forces with a motley group of fellow veterans, and together they form a band unlike any the nation has ever seen. However, complicated relationships, the demands of the competition, and the challenging after-effects of war may break these musicians. Victory will require every ounce of talent, stamina, and raw nerve that these musicians can muster.
Cast of “Bandstand”
Leading the cast are Benjamin Nurthen (Donny) Norwegian Cruise Line: Charlie KINKY BOOTS, Beast CHOIR OF MAN; Beef & Boards: Chuck Cranston FOOTLOOSE and Katie Luke (Julia Trojan) Playhouse on Park: Texas CABARET; Tour/Cruises: NCL: Maggie/Swing Nicola KINKY BOOTS; Disney Cruise Lines: Elsa. Regional: Cortland Repertory Theatre: Katherine Plumber NEWSIES.
The musicians that make up the onstage Swing band include Jack Theiling He/Him (Jimmy): Playhouse on Park: Meyer Balsam INDECENT; Repertory Theatre of St. Louis: Ensemble OSLO; Virgin Voyages/PigPen Theatre Co: Logan PHANTOM FOLKTALES, John Elliott* (Nick Radel) Phoenix Theatre Company: Nick Radel BANDSTAND; Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane University: Nick Radel BANDSTAND; National Tour: Barrett TITANIC, Chris Haley (Wayne Wright): Summer Lyric Theatre: Wayne Wright BANDSTAND; National Tour: Victor/Cliff u/s CABARET; The Phoenix Theatre Company: Ensemble/Wayne Wright u/s BANDSTAND, Alan Mendez* (Davy) The Public Theater: Andromachus SOCRATES, Understudy COMEDY OF ERRORS; Phoenix Theatre Company: Davy BANDSTAND; Hangar Theatre: Pierre NATASHA, PIERRE AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812, Dan Jantson (Johnny) Playhouse Stage Company: Michael Wormwood MATILDA, Romeo NEWSIES, Rooster ANNIE, and Mindy Cassle (Mrs. Adams) Round Barn Theatre: Mrs. Thatcher/Mrs. Blake WHEN CALLS THE HEART-THE MUSICAL; Compass Rose Theater: Golde FIDDLER ON THE ROOF; Roebuck Studios: Marmee LITTLE WOMEN.
Ensemble who play multiple roles throughout the show as well as swing dance include Tiara Greene (JeanAnn Ryan and Others) Eagle Theatre: Madelaine THE WILD PARTY; Candlelight Theatre: Felicia MEMPHIS, Motormouth Maybelle HAIRSPRAY, Arden Theatre Company: Witch u/s INTO THE WOODS, James Felton II (Ensemble/Dance Captain) Ensemble CHICAGO;Clio Cast & Crew: Choreographer OKLAHOMA!; Three Rivers Players: Ensemble GUYS AND DOLLS; Western Michigan University: Harlequin/Nutcracker/Snow King/Trepak/Cavalier THE NUTCRACKER, LeVane Harrington (Ensemble) Fulton: FOR COLORED BOYZ, WHITE CHRISTMAS; Cape Rep MAMMA MIA!; Plaza Theatrical THE COLOR PURPLE, Stephen C. Kallas (Ensemble) Old Man Jenkins/u/s Electric Skates/Squidward THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL (1st National Tour); Fireside Theatre: Davey NEWSIES, AZ Broadway: Ensemble/u/s Frank Jr. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Juliana Lamia (Ensemble, Julia u/s) Playhouse on Park: Catherine PIPPIN; National Tour: Ensemble ELF THE MUSICAL; Studio Tenn: Ensemble/Amneris u/s AIDA, Declan Smith (Ensemble): CCM: Melchior SPRING AWAKENING, Lord Clapham/Master of Justice SOMETHING ROTTEN; West Hartford Summer Arts Festival. Julia Solecki (Ensemble): Playhouse on Park: Player PIPPIN; Peregrine Theatre Ensemble: Helga CABARET, Tribe Member HAIR, and Alexis Yard (Ensemble) Tours: A CHORUS LINE Regional: City Springs Theatre: CATS, A CHORUS LINE; Palace Theatre: GREASE, A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
Sean Harris (Director) select credits include: Playhouse on Park: INTO THE WOODS, THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, ANGELS IN AMERICA, METAMORPHOSES, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, and PASSING STRANGE.
About Playhouse on Park
Managed under the direction of Playhouse Theatre Group, Inc., Playhouse on Park is Greater Hartford’s award-winning destination for the performing arts. Playhouse on Park offers a wide range of thought-provoking, inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable professional theatre productions that leave audiences often smiling, sometimes crying, and always talking about what they have just experienced.
Tickets are now on sale for “Bandstand,” and range from $45-$55. Group rates are available and student and senior discounts are also available. Previews are on July 12 and 13, with all tickets at $25. There are 2 p.m. matinees on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. There will be a talk back with the cast and playwright after each Sunday matinee.
COVID-19 Policy: Vaccination card checks and masks are not required. However, masks are strongly recommended.
For more information or tickets, call the Box Office at 860-523-5900 x10 or visit www.playhouseonpark.org. Playhouse on Park offers discounts for group sales; inquire today. Playhouse on Park is located at 244 Park Road, West Hartford, CT 06119.
Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.