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Music Review

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Original Broadway Cast Recording


Music: Richard Oberacker
Lyrics and Book: Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker
Performed by: Laura Osnes, Corey Cott and Beth Leavel
Label: Broadway Records
RRP: £12.99
Release Date: 23 June 2017

Nothing pleases me more than a new Cast Recording from the current standard-setters, Broadway Records, so I was please to receive the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Bandstand, the brand new musical directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) with music by Richard Oberacker and a book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Oberacker.

Bandstand stars Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes (Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella) and Corey Cott (Gigi) featuring Tony Award winner Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone), Alex Bender (Broadway debut), Joe Carroll (Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella), Brandon J. Ellis (Once), James Nathan Hopkins (What’s It All About: Bacharach Reimagined), and Geoff Packard (Matilda).

Set in the smoke filled, swing fuelled night clubs of 1945, Bandstand brings the against-all-odds story of singer/songwriter Donny Novitski (Cott) and his band of mismatched fellow WWII veterans to the stage. When a national radio contest to find America’s next big swing band offers a chance at instant fame and Hollywood fortune, Donny must whip his wise-cracking gang of jazzers (Bender, Carroll, Ellis, Hopkins, Packard) into fighting shape. Teaming up with the beautiful young war widow Julia (Osnes) as their singer, they struggle to confront the lingering effects and secrets of the battlefield that threaten to tear them apart. Playing for every voiceless underdog in a world that has left them behind, they risk everything in the final live broadcast to redefine the meaning of victory.

The one thing that strikes you about this recording is quality. Not just of the production and product, which we have come to expect as a baseline from Broadway Records now, but of the music, performances, and the orchestrations. It wasn’t until I received the CD that I realised this was an original score - so many of these types of musical are jukebox musicals featuring songs from the era. This is all new music, but it could easily pass for music of the wartime. Huge congratulations should be given to the orchestrators and arrangers (Greg Anthony Rassen and Bill Elliott, alongside musical director Fred Lassen for making this sound so authentic.

Laura Osnes has the voice that many would kill for. I’ve long been a fan, and this recording does nothing to change that. Her performance of ‘Love Will Come And Find Me’ is exquisite, as is the ballad ‘Who I Was’. The 11 o’clock ballad ‘This Is Life’ is a lovely duet between Osnes, and her male co-star, the equally impressive Corey Cost, who I remember from Newsies, and is a highlight for me. The opening sequence for the album, which really sets the pace and the style of the show is an 8 minute epic, and is a superb opener. But by far my favourite track is 'Welcome Home' - it has everything, and deserves to be a ‘new’ standard on its own - the reprise is a wonderful arrangement.

Probably one of the most enjoyable, and classy cast recordings of the year.


Ian Gude

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