© 2023 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

On Stage In January: 'Bandstand'


When words are not enough, we turn to music to express our deepest, most complicated feelings. Bandstand, an original musical composed by Richard Oberacker, with lyrics and book by Oberacker with Robert Taylor, is just such a musical.

Set in post-World War II New York City, the plot revolves around Private First Class Donny Novitski as he tries to fit in and rebuild his life after the war. Donny is a singer and songwriter, and when he hears the news about a national competition to find the next big thing in music, he gathers his fellow veterans to form a band of musicians that will outshine them all, and win them the prize of performing their song onstage in Hollywood.

Bandstand was the first musical that achieved 6 Certified, a designation awarded by the veterans group Got Your 6. In 2015, Oberacker and Taylor sought feedback from Got Your 6 in order to provide an accurate picture of the veterans and the issues they faced, including post-traumatic stress and survivor guilt, and, most importantly, Got Your 6 helped the team avoid stereotypes, creating characters that were resonant and true. 

The American Theatre Guild is putting Bandstand onstage at Century II Concert Hall from Jan. 14-16. 

And when you're making your list of resolutions for the New Year, if you are the sort who makes resolutions, do yourself a favor and put down “see more local theatre.” It will be the happiest resolution you will ever keep. I'll be back next year.

Sanda Moore Coleman received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1991. Since then, she has been the arts and community editor for The Martha's Vineyard Times, a teaching fellow at Harvard University, and an assistant editor at Image. In 2011, she received the Maureen Egan Writers Exchange prize for fiction from Poets & Writers magazine. She has spent more than 30 years performing, reviewing, and writing for theatre.