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Review: BANDSTAND at Times Union Performing Arts Center

Review: BANDSTAND at Times Union Performing Arts Center

"Right This Way" to the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts to see Bandstand. Audiences were so moved by the musical on February 18. Bandstand follows the story of veterans' home from World War II as they try to qualify for a music competition. The group becomes the Donny Nova band and intends to win the competition and dedicate it to the veterans that defended the United States. It is very appropriate for the show to come to Jacksonville, FL as we have not one, but two naval bases. You could feel the theater become heavy with an array of emotions as audience members were transported to this time period and watched these characters portray very real post-war circumstances.

I cannot praise this cast enough. They all did such a fantastic job portraying such heavy material. Donny Novitski (Zack Zaromatidis) was fantastic as the leader of the group. He was able to really take control as the band leader, all the while facing his own battle, privately, with PTSD. My favorite number of Zaromatidis was "Right This Way." Tears streamed down my face as I watched him struggle to understand how they may not achieve all they have worked for. Then, when all the band joins in with him it heightens the emotion and is absolutely beautiful and moving experience. Julia Trojan (Jennifer Elizabeth Smith) was fantastic! She reminded me so much of the original actress, Laura Osnes. Smith's voice was so pure and beautiful in every song she sang. The final song ("Welcome Home") that received many minutes' worth of applause, displayed her talent beautifully. The audience was completely blown away by her performance and the emotion she conveyed as a fallen soldier's wife.

This show is unique, in that the musicians on stage are performing on their instruments live. The audience gets to meet each of these performers in "I Know a Guy." It has a real 1940's feel. Jimmy Campbell (Rob Clove), Davy Zlatic (Benjamin Powell), Nick Radel (Scott Bell), Wayne Wright (Louis Jannuzzi III), and Johnny Simpson (Jonmichael Tarleton) had great chemistry with one another. Though, they did not all get along the entire time, each had respect for one another because they could empathize with what they had to go through overseas. Each displayed the various coping mechanisms soldiers faced when coming home from the war. They were all so talented with their individual instruments, as well

The entire cast was astounding. Mrs. June Adams (Roxy York) was the best comedic relief! Every time I saw her coming on stage, I knew I would laugh. However, her voice blew me away. York's performance of "Everything Happens" was absolutely beautiful. The ensemble did a fantastic job, especially dancing. They transported the audience to the time period of swing dancing and listening to live music together.

Bandstand is an emotional rollercoaster everyone needs to go on. It is so poignant and beautiful, all audiences will be moved by the performers, and the story. Bandstand will be in Jacksonville now through February 23.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

Alhambra Theatre & Dining Presents THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS Beginning Next  Photo
For the first time in nearly two decades, the Alhambra Theatre & Dining will stage the musical comedy, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.  The second show of the Alhambra’s 2023 Season (it’s 55th season) officially opens Friday evening, February 10. It will be preceded by two “preview” performance on Thursday, February 9. 

MOCA Jacksonville To Present Interactive Exhibition of John Cage & Friends from B Photo
MOCA Jacksonville has announced the upcoming exhibition Don't Blame it on ZEN: The Way of John Cage & Friends.

WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT to be Presented at The Hippodrome Theater in March Photo
White Rabbit Red Rabbit will be presented at The Hippodrome Theater in Downtown Gainesville March 13 at 7pm. 

American Theatre Critics Association Announces Support of Douglas Anderson School of the A Photo
The American Theatre Critics Association has expressed our unwavering support for the brave students at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida for their attempt to produce an enthralling piece of art by one of the nation's premiere playwrights. Unfortunately, in a horrific example of life imitating art, Duval County Public School officials ended the production, citing a relationship in the play between two women as 'inappropriate.' 

From This Author - Jordan Higginbotham

Jordan is a graduate student and dietetic intern. Theater is her artistic escape from the world of science and dietetics. Jordan has enjoyed being the Jacksonville Regional Contributor fo... (read more about this author)

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