The co-writers of the new musical Bandstand, Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor, stopped in to the Billboard on Broadway video series with stars Laura Osnes and Corey Cott to share the songs and inspiration for their 1940s-set show (directed and choreographed by Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler).
Bandstand follows the story of Donny Novitski (Cott), a young vet and singer-songwriter who returns home after four years overseas “to find a world that once held such promise seemingly passing him by,” Taylor says. Novitski meets a young war widow named Julia Trojan (Osnes) and together they enter a national swing band competition to win a feature in a new MGM motion picture.
As Taylor and Oberacker explain, they drew on diverse musical influences in composing Bandstand’s songs, ranging from 1940s swing and Leonard Bernstein to Harold Arlen, George Gershwin, and Richard Rodgers circa Carousel. Cott’s big introduction number, “Donnie Novitski,” was meant to “tell you right away the era we’re in” (hence its classic swing sound). Meanwhile, Osnes’s “Love Will Come and Find Me Again” (a poem her character wrote, which Novitski sets to music) was meant as an homage to “those great MGM movie moments, where you just have a singer and her band…like Judy Garland in A Star is Born,” Oberacker says, with a melody “that sounded like something you sort of maybe knew from the American songbook but couldn’t quite place.”
Taylor and Oberacker both make their Broadway debuts as co-authors of the show, while Cott and Osnes come to Bandstand as Broadway regulars: Cott starred in Newsies and Gigi (alongside Vanessa Hudgens), and Osnes, one of current musical theater’s star young sopranos, most recent played the title role in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
Watch as Cott and Osnes perform “Donnie Novitski,” “Love Will Come and Find Me Again,” and “This is Life.”
The American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards will air live from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 11, 2017 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT). The Tony Awards, which honors theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. The nominations for the 2017 Tony Awards will be announced live on May 2, 2017, from New York City. For more information, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @TheTonyAwards on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.