Dec 30 , 2019


Bursting onto the vibrant Van Wert entertainment scene at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Thursday, January 23 is Broadway's BANDSTAND. This isn't just any Broadway Musical. Written by Robert Taylor (book and lyrics) and Richard Oberacker (book, lyrics, and music) and directed and choreographed by three-time Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand was seen on Broadway in 2017. The musical was nominated for three Tony Awards, winning for Best Choreography. BANDSTAND is a vivid stage journey of soldiers returning from World War II into a lively world of big-band music, boogie-woogie dancing and a booming American economy. Donny assembles a music combo composed entirely of fellow veterans, hoping to win a competition in New York and earn a shot at Hollywood. The poignant reality is that music is part of the healing journey for these Veterans dealing with post-war struggles.

It would have been easy to simply plug in 1940s pop standards. But instead Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor created a swinging original score that not only captures the period style but also digs deep into the characters. The music is so tightly integrated into the script that "Bandstand" becomes unusually powerful musical theater. Its reinterpretation of the traditional 11 o'clock number is both smart and electrifying. Andy Blankenbuehler, who rose to prominence as the choreographer of "In the Heights" and then "Hamilton," does a stunning job as both director and choreographer.

Bandstand is "a swing musical," that boasts the most spectacular dance choreography. The brilliant Blankenbuehler keeps his stageful of remarkable performers moving just about constantly in ways that make spectators watch what each is doing individually and what all of them are doing as a lithe, athletic team. The remarkable result leaves the audience captivated by the movement and held tight by the story.

Toe-tapping, hands-clapping, no-ones-napping, BANDSTAND will warm up the stage in what can be referred to as the coldest month of the year. Van Wert will be ALIVE with entertainment on January 23rd and the performers of BANDSTAND will keep the stage HOT! Begin 2020 with Broadway and you may find yourself dancing throughout the year.

20 - 21 Season Sponsors