Bandstand the Musical - SYNOPSIS

The New American Musical 2017
Bandstand the Musical - SYNOPSIS

Act I

With painful images of combat still fresh in his mind, the young vet, pianist, and singer/songwriter Donny Novitski returns home from the war to Cleveland, Ohio in 1945, to find an America eager to get back to life (“Just Like It Was Before Lyrics”). Unable to find success or solace in that promise, Donny hears of a National Radio Swing Band Competition in Tribute to the Troops, and hatches a plan to create a band composed entirely of fellow vets for a shot at instant fame and Hollywood fortune (“Donny Novitski Lyrics”). With a statewide competition to win first, Donny puts his band together: Jimmy Campbell on saxophone/clarinet, Davy Zlatic on bass, Nick Radel on trumpet, Wayne Wright on trombone, and Johnny Simpson on drums (“I Know A Guy Lyrics”).

Following their first performance (“Ain't We Proud Lyrics”), he makes good on a promise to check in on Julia Trojan, the young widow of the man who had been his best friend in the war. Meanwhile, the vets in Donny’s new band try desperately to adjust to civilian life (“Proud Riff - Orchestra”). As Julia prepares to host Donny for dinner in the hope of learning more about her husband’s death, she confides in her mother, June Adams that she just wants to be (“Who I Was Lyrics”). During dinner, Donny avoids discussing the death of Julia’s husband. Later, haunted by the memories of war, the band members play their instruments, and Donny arrives at the church where Julia sings (“Counterpoint/Pie Jesu”). Impressed by her voice, Donny invites Julia to hear the band he’s put together. Excitedly, Julia’s mother hopes that all will soon be “Just Like It Was Before (Reprise) Lyrics”.

At the club, Donny invites Julia to sing a standard with the Band (“First Steps First Lyrics”). He convinces Julia to join them, and they begin rehearsing in earnest (“Breathe Lyrics”) for their first gig together, trying out a new tune, (“You Deserve It Lyrics”). When Donny’s confidence in winning the competition falters, Julia offers him a journal of poems she has written. Realizing he has found his lyrical muse, he composes a melody for one of her poems that he is convinced will win them the preliminary in Ohio, and guarantee them a slot on the final broadcast in New York City. The Ohio broadcast is in full swing (“Dwight Anson & Jean Ann”), as the Donny Nova Band featuring Julia Trojan takes the stage with (“Love Will Come And Find Me Again Lyrics”). Chosen the winners, they are quickly crushed as they realize the daunting financial challenge they will have to surmount to get to New York. From disbelief and despair, Donny rallies his band of brothers with a vision of a world where they are recognized for their sacrifices and talents (“Right This Way Lyrics”).

Act II

With renewed determination that (“Nobody Lyrics”) tells them ‘no’, the Band begins playing every available club in Cleveland. Their growing number of fans celebrate that (“The Boys Are Back”). Julia and Donny continue their songwriting collaboration with (“I Got A Theory Lyrics”) about Cleveland itself, raising more money and hometown support. With the New York trip imminent, and the bond between them growing stronger, Julia presses Donny for the truth of her husband’s death in battle. Horrified by the revelation that Donny accidentally caused his death in a friendly fire incident, Julia abandons the Band, only to be admonished by her mother that sometimes (“Everything Happens Lyrics”) without reason or fault. After deep reflection, Julia returns to Donny with an offering of empathy in the form of a new poem, which paints a raw and truthful portrait of Donny and the Band members to whom she’s grown so attached: Johnny was severely injured and suffers from chronic pain, amnesia, and cognitive issues; Nick was a prisoner of war, giving him anger and trust issues; Davy liberated Dachau and has turned to alcohol and humor to cope with the memories; Wayne suffers from mental illness (likely OCD), meaning his children no longer recognise him and his marriage breaks down (his wife has left him, and he recently moved in with Nick); Jimmy focuses on his law studies to avoid letting anybody in after terrible loss; Donny is an insomniac who is experiencing survivor's guilt after the death of Michael, Julia's husband. Inspired, Donny sets Julia’s new poem to music, but both of them realize that the lyrics must be rewritten if the song is ever to be performed in public; they turn it into a love song about a girl and her returning soldier (“Welcome Home Lyrics”).

With a generous gift from their hometown fans, the Band sets off to live their dream of being (“A Band In New York City Lyrics”). After a magical first night in New York, Donny and Julia find themselves outside her hotel room door, finally admitting their true feelings for one another (“This Is Life Lyrics”). Backstage at the final broadcast, moments before their appearance, the band realizes that the fine print of the contract they’ve signed is a trap, and the promised prize a sham. Refusing to allow their military service to be sentimentalized and exploited by the contest promoters, and unwilling to give away the rights to his song, Donny convinces the Band to make the riskiest choice of all, and fight for themselves (“This Is Life (Reprise) Lyrics”). Live on air for the entire country to hear, the Band stages a virtual coup d’état of the broadcast as Julia sings every brutally honest word of her original poem (“Welcome Home (Finale) Lyrics”).

In an (“Epilogue”), a year later, the Donny Nova Band featuring Julia Trojan find themselves to be celebrated stars, with sold-out New York concerts and a nationwide tour. Having shown the courage to sing their truth, they have won the hearts of people everywhere.

Album Songs: Bandstand the Musical Lyrics
Synopsis to Bandstand the musical plot