“The Bandstand,” the new musical directed and choreographed by “Hamilton” choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, has locked in its casting in a trio of roles, with Laura Osnes (“Cinderella”), Corey Cott (“Newsies,” “Gigi”) and Beth Leavel (“The Drowsy Chaperone”) joining the production.
Premiering this fall at the Paper Mill Playhouse — the Millburn, N.J., theater where Broadway titles including “Newsies” and “Honeymoon in Vegas” originated — “The Bandstand” has picked up some promising buzz following an industry showcase last year. Set in 1945, the storyline follows a handful of military vets who form a band in order to compete in a national radio contest. The swing-infused score is by Richard Oberacker (the conductor of orchestras at shows including Cirque du Soleil’s “Ka” in Vegas), who composed the music and collaborated on the lyrics and book with Robert Taylor.
Osnes was last on Broadway in 2013 musical “Cinderella,” which earned her a Tony nomination, while Cott starred in the short-lived revival of “Gigi” last season. Leavel, who won a Tony for her turn in “The Drowsy Chaperone” in 2006, last appeared on Broadway in “Elf” in 2012.
Blankenbuehler, currently riding high as the choreographer of buzz magnet “Hamilton,” directed and choreographed Broadway’s “Bring It On.” For “Bandstand” he’ll work with a design team that includes David Korins (sets), Paloma Young (costumes), Jeff Croiter (lights) and Nevin Steinberg (sound).
“The Bandstand” isn’t the only new musical premiering at Paper Mill this season with an eye on Broadway. Also on the theater’s 2015-16 slate is a spring bow for “A Bronx Tale,” a new musical adaptation of the tale by Chazz Palminteri, co-directed by Robert De Niro (who directed the movie version in 1993) and stage veteran Jerry Zaks, who helmed the 2007 Broadway production of the original play.
“The Bandstand” begins previews Oct. 8 ahead of an Oct. 18 opening, with complete cast still to come. No plans for the show’s future life have yet been set.