Ticket Giveaway: Bandstand

Bandstand 11

Win two tickets to see Bandstand for free.  I liked this show, about a 1940’s swing band made up of World War II veterans, for its thrilling choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, who won his third Tony for it (after In The Heights and Hamilton); its catchy, beat-happy original score that pays homage to the big band era of Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington; and for its pitch-perfect cast, led by Corey Cott and Laura Osnes, many of whom play their own musical instruments, backed by a swinging 13-member band.

They announced earlier this week that the musical will close on September 17, 2017, having played 24 previews and 166 regular performances  I think the show was underrated, and I am delighted to be able to offer a pair of tickets to it.

Update: Samantha Sheets, the 21st to reply and chose Spring Awakening, won the random drawing for the two tickets.

To enter the contest for the tickets, just answer this question:

What was the most underrated show you’ve ever seen on a New York stage? 

How was it underrated…and why?

The Rules

  1. Please put your answer in the comments at the bottom of this blog post, because I will choose the winner at random, using Random.org, based on the order of your reply, not its content.
  2.  But you must answer the question, complete with explanation and description, or your entry will not be approved for submission.
  3. This contest ends Wednesday August 16, 2017 at midnight Eastern Time, and I will make the drawing no later than noon the next day. You must respond within 12 hours or I will pick another winner.’

Update: You must pick an underrated show.  Please explain how it’s been underrated, not just why you liked it.

The winner will be given two tickets to a weeknight performance of their choosing, subject to availability.

Please sign up to my New York Theater Facebook page

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

57 thoughts on “Ticket Giveaway: Bandstand

  1. American Psycho. It was by no means perfect, but it was unusual, exciting, and unexpectedly moving. It also did not get enough love for its staging and lighting. Not many saw it, but anyone I met who did loved it. Wish it was given a chance to find an audience.

  2. The most underrated show I’ve seen on stage is Pericles.

    This Shakespeare play is rarely performed, considered problematic and maybe not even completely written by the master. But I saw a moving production of the show directed by Trevor Nunn at Theater for the New Audience that made me fully appreciate the magic of theater and the playwright’s creation.

  3. HONEYMOON IN VEGAS -“Expectations” of a Nic Cage movie-musical mash-up foiled the efforts of an excellent ensemble cast and a game “old guy” played by TV-star Tony Danza who spent months perfecting a solo tap number. This was the kind of show you really needed to see more than once to fully appreciate everything it had offer. Sadly, many did not and the shows run ended before summer ended with zero help from the Tony awards.

    1. Three or four come to mind. Bonnie and Clyde was entertaining and beautifully acted and stage but the bullying press had it our for Frank Wildhore who finally had a great score with Bonnie and Clyde

      Honeymoon in Vegas was a blast. New Yorkers don’t like anything to do with Vegas and some bad producing choices by lead producer .

      American Psycho was much more interesting to me that Dear Evan Handsen and Hamilton but the critics had it out for that one too. Fascinating show.

      I also think Bandstand and War Paint were better shows then ALL of the nominees for this years Tony’s.

  4. I know someone already mentioned this show, but one of the most underrated shows I can remember seeing on a New York Stage was American Psycho. It was truly a one-of-a-kind show that I absolutely adored. I had to see it twice during it’s all-too-short run. I think people weren’t ready for such a different kind of story-telling with harsh imagery and unusual subject matter. I also think people missed the point of it being a satire and took offense to the material. At the very least, Benjamin Walker deserved much more recognition for his flawless performance. I miss this show so much.

  5. I am fairly new to New York theatre so I have limited choices, but the most underrated show I have seen on Broadway was The Encounter. While many people who saw the show found it confusing or outright strange, I think that Simon McBurney did an incredible job of utilizing sound and perception to tell the story of the explorer’s journey in the Amazon. I think it was a one-of-a-kind play and felt like the sound effects were a unique way to fully experience the show.

  6. Easy — Bandstand itself is the most underrated! The music was joyful and haunting by turns, the dancing and acting were terrific, and the story hit the perfect balance: honoring and sympathizing veterans while refusing to exploit them. It deserved a much, much longer run.

  7. I was a huge fan of “Grey Gardens” and have since listened to the recording many, many times. The two leads (deservedly) got all of the attention, but I find the book and score to be near perfection. I saw the show many times on Broadway and at least twice played to a small, unappreciated crowd. This show will always be near the top of my list!

  8. For me, it has to be Bright Star. The music and the acting were amazing. Carmen Cusack gave a tony worthy performance.

  9. Tuck Everlasting was an amazing show last season. It followed a timeless story with amazing acting, singing, and dancing! It had an amazing message and beautiful songs for viewers of all ages.

  10. Shuffle Along was one of the greatest shows I’ve seen in New York. I don’t think this show was critically underrated, but I’m counting it as underrated because it closed so quickly. Not only were the big names incredible, but the ensemble was one of the best I have ever seen as well. They were full on tap dancing their hearts out the entire show. It looked absolutely exhausting and I was in awe of what they were able to do.

  11. Amelie. I randomly won lottery tickets and somehow ended up with front row center. Tons of people warned me that it was boring, that the music was like a lullaby. But I loved it. I was in complete awe and hanging on their every note. It was sweet, cute, and quirky with lovely music. I raved about it to my coworker who didn’t get a chance to go since she was out of town for its very swift closing. It really didn’t have a chance. Such a shame!

  12. To me, the most underrated show is All Shook Up, a silly but delightful 2005 catalog musical taking the tunes of Elvis and spinning them through a 50’s take on As You Like It. The cast was chock full of Broadway heavy hitters led by Cheyenne Jackson playing the Elvis inspired Roustabout Chad and Jenn Gambatese playing the motorbike mechanic with a heart of gold Natalie. The score of Elvis tunes both hits and hidden gems were gorgeously orchestrated by Stephen Oremus including a stunning choral arrangement of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. The show came out around the same time as Good Vibrations and Lennon, so it ended up being swept up in all of the bad press post Good Vibrations and closed quickly. The show has a magic, a heart, and a song in its soul that Broadway never truly understood. All Shook Up never reached the Burnin Love that it deserved on Broadway and is a hunk-a hunk-a of underrated musical.

  13. The most underrated show I’ve seen in recent memory was Bright Star. It had a catchy score, and some of my favorite performances I’ve seen. The story, while predictable, was so engaging in its presentation that I found myself taken in by it anyway.

  14. The most underrated show I’ve seen is Big Fish. No one ever seems to remember it, but I thought the score and choreography was beautiful, and Norbert Leo Butz had wonderful chemistry with Bobby Steggert. It was emotional without being saccharine, and I felt like it was a solid family show, similar to Something Rotten!, even though it wasn’t directly targeted towards a family audience. Although Finding Neverland lasted longer, I think they had similar themes and Big Fish could’ve had a tour and run as well if it found its audience. I’m glad it’s finding a new life on the West End.

  15. I really enjoyed Bright Star and was blown away by Carman Cusack. I appreciated that it was so different from the typical Broadway show, and thought the bluegrass music was beautiful. I was sad that it was so underrated and closed after only a few months.

  16. For me, by all means, it is Side Show. I think it’s the idea of siamese twins that scared the people off. A few of my friends called this show very uncomfortable to watch, but I thought it was magical and I loved it since I’ve listened to the original cast for the first time. I was very happy when the revival was announced, but sadly it suffered the same destiny. Ironically, the musical tells the story of the people unaccepted by society. Anyway, I think the music is very dynamic, the lyrics are very clever and powerful, and the story reminds me of a twisted fairytale. It is absolutely unique and charming.

  17. The most underrated show I can think of is Groundhog Day. Going into it I knew nothing about it and had zero expectations, due to not hearing any buzz about it (it had been out for a while). I was pleasantly surprised because it was one of the most entertaining and funny musicals I had ever seen. I really don’t understand how no one knows about how much of a gem it is! Andy Karl makes the show with his comedic choices and I can’t even fathom how he does that energetic performance perfectly 8 times a week.

  18. Most underrated show I’ve seen was IF/THEN. Such a fascinating concept and wonderful performances that have stuck with me for a long time after. Parts of this score I continue to listen to over and over.

  19. Deaf West End’s Spring Awakening. The show was amazing, as was the staging. I actually saw it twice in one month because I needed to re-experience it. I know it was a revival, but it close way too fast. It brought attention towards the deaf community and was super informative. Very underrated show and should have been more acknowledge in the theatre community, and should have stayed open on Broadway.

  20. Ahhh, there are so many (like the ones already mentioned here – yay American Psycho and Bright Star!), but I’m gonna go with The Bridges of Madison County…one of Jason Robert Brown’s best scores, just truly beautiful, moving music/lyrics, and incredible performances from Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale! That show deserved to run far longer, and I was so saddened by its closing, although I managed to see it several times at least…it always took me on a deep emotional journey. (Also, Kelli and Steven were sexy as hell together, which always helps!)

  21. Tuck Everlasting. A beautifully done show that deserved way more than it got, with wonderful talent that never fails to move me to tears.

  22. I’m new to NYC to I can only talk about shows from this season. I think the most underrated show is Amelie! I get why people didn’t like it, but I didn’t think it deserved to close down to soon. The musical was quirky and Phillipa Soo was so good in it! It wasn’t as good as the movie though, but it definitely took its own spin on it and I thought it had character.

  23. 33 to Nothing. The story was an incredibly honest portrayal of love and relationships, told in an immensely moving way. The music was unique for a musical but worked very well for the show. I wish I could see it again, and I wish more people could appreciate it.

  24. So many choices, but I’m going with one of my favorites, Chess. It had such a short Broadway run and was panned by critics, but despite the issues with the book I absolutely love the score and would love to see this one back on Broadway.

  25. I guess for me it would either be Bright Star or bandstand, both of them have great scores and an amazing story both connect with the audience on a very emotional level. Unfortunately because of this connection on the emotional level they were not successful but they are two of my favorite underated
    shows

  26. Catch me if you can. I thought it went deeper into his relationship with his father which explains why he does what he does. It did have it’s flaws, but I thought it was a very smooth musical

  27. Actually, Bandstand would be my answer. It’s such a lovely show with a score that keeps getting stuck in my head and two incredibly talented leads (and an entire supporting cast that plays their own instruments), and it’s definitely in my top 3 shows of the season, yet it got no love for Best Musical at the Tonys and is closing way ahead of its time. I would be ecstatic to see this wonderful show again before it finishes its run.

  28. Finding Neverland was pure magic to me, and I’m truly disappointed that it didn’t make it as one of the “greats”. After a long ‘theater drought’ I saw this show and it rekindled in me everything that I loved about musical theater, about the stage, about the power of performance to lift you away and transport you somewhere new. In addition to the beautiful and memorable songs, the theme and message of the story deeply resonates – that as we grow and move on in our adult lives, to always keep alive the joy and wonder of the child within us. I left the theater determined to live my life better and more meaningfully, which is the greatest impact theater can ever have.

  29. Ever is a tough thing to say, but certainly this season, Amelie got the really short end of the stick. I think it had the best score this season. We suffered from a severe case of vague lyrics this year, but Amelie had beautiful, story-specific lyrics to a lovely lilting score and a charming central romantic relationship. I think that it was overlooked in the mad rush of Evan Hansen/Great Comet furor in the same way that Bright Star folded quickly last year. Broadway shows have gotten so expensive and large, that a smaller, sweet show that would have been a sturdy hit in years gone by (it reminded me heavily of Carnival!) is untenable. I think it’s underrated because people never really gave it a chance, but I’ve got my fingers crossed it’ll have a vivid life in regional and community and especially educational theatre. People deserve to see a musical that has a bit of magic in its heart.

  30. Amelie, for sure. I bought a first preview ticket months before because I wanted to see Pippa in a new show, but I was hesitant going in when I heard all the negative reviews from LA. I absolutely loved it. It was so adorable and whimsical, and a really enjoyable way to spend an evening. Was it the best show in the world, no, but there are many other shows that I’ve seen that lasted longer and were awful. I’m so sad it closed so quickly, but it didn’t really stand a chance after Tony nominations 🙁

  31. American Psycho was underrated. It wasn’t given a chance. It was unique and different. There is no other show I have seen that has compared! The music was haunting and I still find myself humming some of the songs to this day. American Psycho was pure art

  32. BANDSTAND- The acting was terrific, specifically Corey Cott. And the onstage band was magnificent perhaps the best players I’ve heard in a long time. This show to me was very underrated because many critics called the score generic, but which I thought was very invigorating. It received and won only one tony award for best choreography, and it definitely deserved choreography.

  33. The most underrated show I’ve ever seen was Brief Encounter. It was different from any other show I’ve seen — when the show was over, the cast went out to the vestibule and started playing music and singing. They really engaged with the audience. I never hear anything about the creative way in which the audience was brought into the Brief Encounter world.

  34. “Ghost” was an underrated Broadway musical. It didn’t get critic or audience support and didn’t last long, but I thought it transformed a well-known movie with unique, wonderful special effects, excellent music, moving performances, and a very talented cast. I loved the show more than the movie and was moved by it. I wanted to see it again.

  35. The most underrated show in my opinion was Bright Star. When I first walked into the theater on my birthday, I was just happy to see something and see something for cheap. I ended up coming back two more times the same month because of this phenomenal show. The cast of this show was spectacular and gave 110% every time and gave some great development to their characters. Carmen Cusack was introduced to Broadway audiences and her transition from younger to older Alice Murphy was flawlessly done. The story was complex, invigorating and no one walked out of that theater with a dry eye. The music was catchy and tugged at the heartstrings. I’m just really happy the show is touring and more people across the US will be able to see this wonderful show.

  36. The most underrated show that’s still currently running on Broadway in my opinion is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s an incredibly flawed show, where act one tended to drag on a bit with some less interesting numbers. I happened to have seen it in late previews. I was warned by everyone that I was going to hate the show. I saw reviews everywhere that were harsh enough to make a casual theatregoer flinch— in fact, I can’t recall any other time I was more nervous to go into a theatre because I had absolutely no expectations, despite the beloved film being one of my absolute childhood favorites. As for the show itself, the set design was panned by critics, but for some reason, I found it incredibly innovative on its emphasis of imagination and believing in what you might be unable to see. Children are discouraged a lot in society to be creative and imaginative and dream big, due to the fear of being “unrealistic”. But Charlie, despite his poverty, dreams freely and has a voice of pure optimism. His undying hope of providing a better life for himself and his family and make his dreams a reality brings hope- and joy- to many youth. And myself. Despite the darkness of the second act that could frighten smaller children, I think the show has important morals that ring true today, and I appreciate these kinds of “entertaining” shows that introduce children to theatre in a way that they can relate to and understand.

  37. I think Chaplin was the most underrated show. I thought the score was interesting, the performances great, costumes were wonderful, story was engrossing. It opened to middling reviews and closed not long after. A shame.

  38. The most underrated show I’ve seen on a New York stage would have to be Bandstand. The show is so moving, and the score is beautifully written and different from any other musical. The dancing is phenomenal and some of the choreography even moves me to tears. This show is so important because of how it honors veterans. When i saw the show they dedicated the show to my grandfather which was very special. The cast is phenomenal, and so down to earth. I’ve never been so moved by a performance or have been so eager to see a show again.

  39. Steel Pier! I saw it when I was 10 or 11, and I remember loving the choreography, score, and set. It’s still ingrained in my memory as one of the most magical nights I’ve had at the theatre. Because Steel Pier has been special to me since I was a child, I didn’t realize it was underrated at the time – lukewarm critical reception, unfortunate short run, and while it did garner Tony nominations, it was snubbed in all categories. I hope I win this chance to see Bandstand before it closes, another show afflicted by a heartbreaking short run!

  40. It’s not a musical, but I went to see Roundabout’s The Cherry Orchard expecting it to be a nightmare after word of mouth and found it pleasantly enjoyable. It wasn’t amazing, but it didn’t deserve the awful reputation it had…

  41. American Pyscho was a brilliant, dark musical, if only people who thought it was “too dark” to their taste gave it a chance! The musical is a bloody good time! @nkny

  42. The show I think is underrated is Miss Saigon. Yes, it definitely has it’s flaws, and Schonberg and Boubil won’t leave the thing alone, but it is a beautiful love story filled with some of the most beautiful music written for the stage. The controversy and technical elements tend to overshadow the story, but I think that’s pretty sad. It is a great one, and I love that it is being revived. Bui Doi is one of the best numbers being performed on Broadway each night currently.

  43. Heathers – it had a bit of a following off Broadway, but i also heard many comments from people who didn’t like it, sometimes saying the lyrics were immature. I thought it was so smart – high school students dealing with incredible situations that most adults wouldn’t know how to emotionally handle. Add in the feel of a cult classic musical, and it was a wonderful evening of theatre.

  44. I’m going to say Groundhog Day. It had a wonderfully charismatic performance by Andy Karl, who went his own path and didn’t try to imitate Bill Murray. Barrett Doss also didn’t try the Andie McDowell ingenue route but instead made Rita feistier and funnier. The musical had a beautiful turntable set that was very surreal-looking, which added to the feeling that “February 2” is really a metaphor for all the ways people fail and cannot move on until they fix what they’re getting wrong in their lives. The score by Tim Minchin is uneven but has SEVERAL excellent songs. It walked the line between humor and sentiment perfectly. It managed to make a montage of suicide attempts funny. This show should have had a way longer run than it did. And hey, Bill Murray saw it and he loved it. For those who think “publicity stunt” yeah maybe, but Bill Murray’s heartfelt comments about the show didn’t seem scripted. It’s Bill Murray. He doesn’t stay on script.

    I love this show and wish I could see it again and again (I’ve seen it twice).

  45. I have to agree with you that I think Bandstand is the most underrated show I have seen. I got tickets through TKTS last minute after hearing positive reviews from friends and was BLOW AWAY with how much I enjoyed the show. The talent in Bandstand is unlike anything I have ever seen and I was moved to tears during several parts of the show. I think the message is so unique and important, and I loved seeing a show that dealt with deeper topics that is typical. It felt raw and genuine and also brought the audience along for a ride! I have been listening to “Love Will Come and Find You Again” on repeat since I saw the show two weeks ago, and I am going to try and squeeze in seeing it again before it leaves the stage. I am heartbroken that it is closing so quickly, it is an amazing show and I hope it will be carried on through regional theatre and national tours!

  46. I would have to say Bright Star. I think it was poorly marketed, which was a shame since the songs were memorable, and the cast was amazing. It was such a fun and uncommon musical that should have been appreciated more for its entertainment value and its uniqueness.

  47. For me, “The Last Ship” was the most recent show I’ve seen that would qualify as underrated. Sting’s score was just ethereal and transforming to listen to with an amazing cast that breathed so much life and spirit into it on that stage. Michael Esper, Aaron Lazar and the wonderful Rachel Tucker deserved more recognition for their performances but sadly could not make it to Tony season even with Sting’s own performance stepping in to save the show. I will always cherish my experience at the Neil Simon Theatre when I think of this musical. I hope it returns one day to a new group of avid theatregoers.

  48. The most underrated show I’ve ever seen was In Transit. The performers were absolutely brilliant! It is a shame that it was only on stage for a few months. The reason why it was underrated was because it was entirely a cappella. At times as a viewer, I completely forgot no instruments were being used. Beatbox who beatboxed his way through (just as his name states) was one of the greatest performers I had ever seen. It was also nice to hear Justin Guarini sing (he also sang beautifully at the tribute for the Tonys as well). All in all, I am happy that I got to see In Transit but I wish it had a bigger audience.

  49. I think Great Comet deserved better recognition. Josh was fantastic but I think the marketing relied too much on him being the entire show. Denee, Brittain and the supporting cast were outstanding. Infectious energy. I had planned to see it again this fall.

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