The Tony Award winning musical “Bandstand” opens next week on March 3, 2020, at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.
It was originally directed and choreographed by three-time Tony Award Winner, “Hamilton” choreographer and Kennedy Center Honoree, Andy Blankenbuehler. The production features music by Richard Oberacker with book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Oberacker.
The show opens in 1945 as America welcomes back its victorious soldiers after World War II. As many soldiers had to do, Private Donny Novitski tries to put his life back together. He is a singer and songwriter. So, when there is a national contest to find the next musical star, Donny joins with fellow veterans to win the competition. Through music and friendship, they find a way to readjust to civilian life and finally “come home.”
The New York Times states it is “both a peppy celebration of can-do spirit and 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.”
The “Bandstand” national tour cast stars Zack Zaromatidis as Donny Novitski and Jennifer Elizabeth Smith as Julia Trojan. They will be joined by Roxy York (Mrs. June Adams), Rob Clove (Jimmy Campbell), Benjamin Powell (Davy Zlatic), Scott Bell (Nick Radel), Louis Jannuzzi III (Wayne Wright), and Jonmichael Tarleton (Johnny Simpson).
The cast also includes Shaunice Alexander, Beth Anderson, Michael Bingham, Milena J. Comeau, Ryan P. Cyr, Sarah Dearstyne, Michael Hardenberg, Andre Malcolm, Kaitlyn Mayse, Matthew Mucha, Mallory Nolting, Taylor Okey, Katie Pohlman, Oz Shoshan, and Cameron Turner.
The design team includes Tony Award Nominee David Korins and associate Justin West (Scenic Design), Tony Award Winners Paloma Young (Costume Design), Jeff Croiter (Lighting Design) and Nevin Steinberg (Original Broadway Sound Design).
I had a chance to Interview Roxy York who plays Mrs. June Adams in “Bandstand.”
Bio: A graduate of Boston Conservatory and a Long Island native, Roxy has been to every contiguous state in the country after performing on the national tours of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Annie” and “Flashdance.”
- Can you tell us a little about your role in “Bandstand?
I play the role of Mrs. June Adams. She’s the matriarch of the show in that she helps to guide and mother other characters. But unlike the archetypal mother character, she is a woman who is quirky and full of energy and humor.
- Did any member of your family serve in WWII? Armed Services?
Yes! My PopPop served in WWII in the Army where he was a Sergeant. He was eventually part of the Enlisted Men’s Artists Bureau, which for him meant that he traveled doing stand-up comedy for troupes who were in much need of moments of levity. He was a very funny man who served as a huge inspiration to me.
- What did you learn about the soldiers who returned from WWII that you did not already know from this production?
A lot of what I learned was about how challenging assimilating back into society was. So much of what we think about post-WW II is immensely positive in America. The economy was booming, families were flooding the suburbs and starting what, from the outside, looked like the most idyllic life. When, in actuality, these soldiers came home from war without the proper outlets to grieve, heal and be heard. While they were being celebrated with ticker tape parades, they were also being told that there was no place for their trauma.
- What did you study at Boston Conservatory?
I received a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Boston Conservatory. It was an intense four-year program that really honed in all aspects of the theatre from voice, acting, and dance to theory and writing.
- What would you like the audience to take away from the show?
I would love audiences to see how forming a community can help lift us all up but more specifically, how far reaching this story goes. I have not yet met one person who hasn’t personally known a veteran and who’s life hasn’t been touched by the military, in some way. This show provides insight to those who have not served and to those who have served. I would like to think this show says “We see you, we hear you, we thank you.”
“Bandstand” runs from Tuesday, March 3 until Sunday, March 8, 2020, at the National Theatre. For tickets online. For information on “Bandstand” and for information on upcoming shows go to The National Theatre website. The National Theatre is located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.