Name: Laura Osnes
Now: After a run at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, “Bandstand” opens on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on April 26, with previews starting March 31.
Elevator pitch: “The show takes place in 1945, right after World War II. This group of vets return from the war and start a swing dance to compete in a radio broadcast competition. It goes on to follow how their relationships with each other and the music that they’re creating together help heal them from the struggles and the residual darkness of the war.”
“My character is a war widow. My husband died in battle, and I get roped into being the singer of this band. In essence, yes, it’s a musical band, but it’s also a band of brothers, so to speak. And all the members of the band have something in common: they can finally find unity in each other when they’re feeling ostracized from the rest of society and trying to figure out how to fit back into the world post-war.”
Timing is everything: “I got asked to do a lab of [Bandstand], and I actually turned it down at first because I had a friend’s wedding. And they ended up changing the dates of the lab by a couple of days so that I was available. And, I was like, ‘OK, then I have to do the lab.’”
Onstage live band: “There have been productions that have done it before, shows like ‘Once’ and ‘Company,’ but what’s cool about this one is that all of the actors who play instruments are part of the plot. This is a band that is actually playing clubs and writing music and we’re getting to see the band grow. It’s definitely the most musically complex show that I’ve been a part of.”
Close to Home: “My husband’s grandma was in a swing band with her husband right after World War II. When I was doing readings [for Bandstand], I didn’t really think about it. Then, as I became more involved with the show and they found out it was going to Paper Mill, my husband was, like, ‘well, you know, I think my grandma had a swing band right around that time’ and I was, like, ‘no way!’ I ended up giving her a call. She sent me some pictures and things like that, which I had printed off and put in my dressing room. They’re also going to come out [from Minnesota] for opening night, grandma and grandpa. Grandma — she just had her 92nd birthday, but she has made it to New York probably once a year since we’ve been here. Yeah, she’s still totally kicking.”
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