Bandstand tour at National Theatre DC

March 4, 2020 Washington, DC, USA

Who: Sean & I
What: Bandstand, the touring Broadway musical
When: March 2020
Where: National Theatre, Washington DC
Why: Cause we deserve it ;)

Bandstand caught my eye when it was on Broadway in 2017, but sadly had a short run and closed before I was able to get to NYC to see it. Fathom Events screened the show in select movie theatres in 2018. I was able to satisfy my curiosity, but screenings can never quite capture the energy of seeing a live production. I'm so glad the production is now touring and was close enough for me to see it live!

I have a few go-to theatre companions, but for Bandstand, I brought along my military-loving, musical-hating husband because I was curious how he would feel about this kind of show. The story discusses the unique issues our troops and their loved ones face, but it's also the story of forming a band to win a competition. The two sides of the story provide both upbeat and sobering moments.

At the end of Act I, I asked Sean what his thoughts were and all he had to say was "the music is uninspiring." He wasn't feeling it. I didn't even have the chance to ask him how he felt after the finale; he immediately spoke up and told me how much better it was!

His assessment is pretty fair. Bandstand is a sneaky show, sprinkling in moments of truth throughout. It makes things feel slow at times, but when they finally come and punch the audience with the truth bomb just before the finale...let's just say I think the applause after that number went on longer than the applause for curtain call! It's the piece that brings all the moments of the show together, but you have to wait for it. I promise, it's worth the wait (also, there are a few other standout numbers throughout the show IMO).

Washington, DC is the perfect city to see a show like Bandstand. The show is in town only until Sunday, but I love how show and city have embraced each other. The National Theatre has offered discounted tickets for veterans, many of whom I saw at opening night, and the actors took a moment after curtain call to thank all military and their families in the audience. It's not an experience to be missed; grab your tickets while Bandstand is still in town!

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