Laura Osnes hopes people will swing to ‘Bandstand’

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In this June 9, 2013 file photo, Laura Osnes arrives on the red carpet at the 67th Annual Tony Awards, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — That rarest of sounds — a new American musical not based on an existing book or film — is heading to Broadway with Tony Award-nominee Laura Osnes — and it’s got quite a swing.

“Bandstand,” the story of six World War II veterans who join together in Cleveland to compete in a radio contest with dreams of stardom, has secured a Shubert theater and has an opening night of April 26.

It will co-star Osnes, who has been attached to the show since a reading 2½ years ago. “To stay with something this long, it better be worth the wait and I think it is with this show. It’s such a beautiful piece,” she said.

Andy Blankenbuehler, a Tony winner whose other Broadway credits include choreographing “Hamilton” (currently playing at Chicago’s PrivateBank Theatre) and directing and choreographing “Bring It On,” will direct. Osnes will star opposite another rising star, Corey Cott.

Laura Osnes and Steven Pasquale star in the Lyric Opera production of “Carousel.” Osnes portrays Julie Jordan; Pasquale stars as Billy Bigelow. |  © Brad Trent Photography

Laura Osnes and Steven Pasquale star in the Lyric Opera production of “Carousel.” Osnes portrays Julie Jordan; Pasquale stars as Billy Bigelow. | © Brad Trent Photography

Osnes was last on Broadway in “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and “Bonnie and Clyde,” while Cott was in “Newsies” and “Gigi” opposite Vanessa Hudgens. The exact theater, the rest of the cast and other details will be announced later.

In 2015, Osnes starred as Julie Jordan in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Carousel, alongside Steven Pasquale.

The new musical features a book and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor, and music by Oberacker. It made its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey last year and drew interest for its frank handling of veterans dealing with PTSD and a culture in denial.

“It’s an original story and that’s sometimes a hard sell on Broadway these days. People want to see something they know. They want to hear songs they know. They want to see people who are acting in it who are famous,” Osnes said.

“To have a completely original score, that’s based on nothing and has an original score should be the most ideal thing.” She added: “People just have to give it a chance. And I hope they will.”

MARK KENNEDY, AP Drama Writer

Contributing: Miriam Di Nunzio, Chicago Sun-Times Staff Reporter

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