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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cast set for world premiere of The Bandstand at Paper Mill Playhouse

 Paper Mill Playhouse has announced that Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes (Rodgers + Hammerstein's CinderellaBonnie and Clyde), Corey Cott (NewsiesGigi) and Tony Award winner Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone42nd Street) will star in the theater’s world-premiere musical The Bandstand .  

The Bandstand will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler (HamiltonBring It OnIn the Heights). The Bandstand features a book and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor and music by Richard OberackerThe Bandstand begins performances Thursday, October 8, 2015, and runs through Sunday, November 8, 2015.  The official press opening night is Sunday, October 18, at 7:00pm. Complete casting will be announced at a later date.  

Set in 1945, The Bandstand tells the story of a mismatched band of military veterans who join together to compete in a national radio contest in New York City with a prize that will guarantee instant stardom to the winners. But with complicated relationships, the demands of the competition and the challenging after-effects of war, going all the way for a win in the contest seems like a dream that may break these musicians. The original score is strongly influenced by authentic 1940s swing music, much of which is played onstage by the characters who make up the band. The show races towards a 'live on air' finale that has an emotionally charged and surprise twist ending that requires every ounce of talent, stamina and raw nerve that these musicians possess.

The Bandstand will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:30pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 8:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are on sale now and start at just $29. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680.  College students can order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance. 

"I’m thrilled that The Bandstand will make its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse,” remarked director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler.  “Like so many of us in the theatre, I feel it’s like being back at home.  The show follows a group of young musicians, having recently returned home from the war.  When this sizzling music and swing dancing explodes onto the stage, I know that the audiences are going to go wild.”

The Bandstand will star Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes as Julia Troy, Broadway favorite Corey Cott as Donny Novitski and Tony Award winner Beth Leavel as Mrs. Adams (Julia’s mother). 
Laura Osnes was seen on Broadway in Rodgers + Hammerstein'sCinderellaBonnie and ClydeAnything GoesSouth Pacific and Grease. Ms. Osnes won the 2013 Drama Desk Award for outstanding actress in a musical for her performance as Ella in Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella. Ms. Osnes recently starred as Julie Jordan in Carousel at the Lyric Opera of Chicago opposite Steven Pasquale. In New York City, Ms. Osnes was featured in The Threepenny OperaThe Band Wagon, Randy Newman’s FaustPipe DreamThe Sound of Music and more. Ms. Osnes appeared on television in Elementary (CBS), The Miraculous Year (HBO), Sondheim: The Birthday Concert (Avery Fisher Hall), Six by Sondheim (HBO) and the Kennedy Center Honors.

Corey Cott most recently appeared on Broadway in Gigi starring opposite Vanessa Hudgens. Weeks after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University Mr. Cott starred as Jack Kelly in Newsies on Broadway. Last year Mr. Cott made his solo concert debut at The Kennedy Center as part of the ASCAP Centennial Celebration. Mr. Cott was a guest star on CBS’ Madam Secretary and will appear as a guest star on TNT’s Public Morals. Mr. Cott’s film credits include The InternThe TeacherPerks Of Being A Wallflower and What You Get

Beth Leavel returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where she last appeared as Berthe in Boeing-Boeing. Ms. Leavel received Tony, Drama Desk, NY Outer Critics Circle, and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for her performance as the title character in The Drowsy Chaperone. Ms. Leavel’s other Broadway credits include Baby It's You!, ElfMamma Mia!Young Frankenstein42nd StreetCrazy for You and more. Ms. Leavel was also seen in New York City Center Encores! production of No, No, Nanette as Lucille.  Ms. Leavel’s film and television credits include ERLaw & Order: Criminal Intent, The Unusuals and more. 

Andy Blankenbuehler (Director and Choreographer) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse where he last choreographed A Wonderful Life. On Broadway, Mr. Blankenbuehler choreographed HamiltonIn the Heights (Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk Awards), Bring It On (Director-Choreographer), 9 to 5The People in the PictureThe Apple Tree and Annie. Mr. Blankenbuehler’s other work includes the world premieres of Hamilton (Public Theater—Drama Desk, Lortel, Obie Awards), Fly (Dallas Theater Center), and Lippa’s A Little Princess, as well as The Wiz (Encores) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (US tour). As a performer, Mr. Blankenbuehler danced on Broadway in FosseContactMan of La ManchaSaturday Night FeverSteel PierBig and Guys and Dolls.

Richard Oberacker (Music, Book and Lyrics) is currently conducting Cirque du Soleil’s Kà in Las Vegas. Mr. Oberacker’s conducting credits include Cirque’s Dralion and national tours of Disney’s The Lion KingShow Boat, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Music of the Night and Cats. As a composer, co-lyricist, and co-librettist, Mr. Oberacker’s original musicals include A Little Theater (Aurelia Theater), In That Valley (NAMT), Dracula (Corbett Theater), The Gospel According to Fishman (Signature Theatre), Ace (NAMT, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse, Old Globe, Signature Theatre), Journey to the West (NYMF), The Parenting Project (Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati) and The Sandman (NAMT, Fredericia Theater of Denmark).

Robert Taylor (Book and Lyrics) taught foreign languages and ornithology in New York, English and music in China, served as music critic for the Albany Times Union, founded and directed several nonprofits and worked as a freelance musician and writer in Manhattan and as a translator in Europe and Asia. As lyricist and co-author, MR. Taylor’s musicals include Ace (NAMT, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Old Globe Theatre, Signature Theatre), Journey to the West (NYMF), The Parenting Project (Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Ensemble Theatre) and TheSandman (NAMT, Fredericia Theater of Denmark).

David Kreppel (Music Director/ Vocal Arranger) served as the associate music supervisor for The Lion King on Broadway. Mr. Kreppel’s other Broadway and touring credits include A Chorus LineMamma MiaSaturday Night Fever and The Little Mermaid

Paper Mill Playhouse's 2015-2016 Season is sponsored by Investors Bank.

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