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Roxy York and Bandstand, the too-short lived Broadway musical, featuring Tony-Award winning choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) is coming to Southern California next week with stops in Santa Barbara and Thousand Oaks thanks to American Theatre Guild with restaged and new choreography by Marc Heitzman (Dance Captain from the Broadway production).
Premise of Bandstand:
The soldiers came home to a new America and it was all very jarring and unsettling and in the show we focus on how they were able to transition into civilian life with amazing music, dancing, romance and comedy.
The New York Times said:
BANDSTAND is “both a peppy celebration of can-do spirit and a more somber exploration of what American servicemen experienced when they marched home from World War II. It’s a great argument for why theater can sometimes tell a story more boldly and more viscerally”
Meet Roxy York:
Roxy, a seasoned performer who recently was featured in Disney’s The Beauty and the Beast non-equity national tour, is featured as Mrs. June Adams in the 1st national tour of BANDSTAND.
I was so excited to pick Roxy’s brain and hear about the show from her perspective so pull up a chair, grab a warm drink and let’s learn why BANDSTAND is a must-see show as it tours the United States.
Transitioning into the Role of Mother:
Roxy plays Mrs. June Adams (mother of leading lady Julia, played by Roxy’s fellow Boston Conservatory graduate Jennifer Elizabeth Smith).
Thanks to theatre magic I am able each evening to transform into the maternal Mrs. June Adams. While the physical requires a well-placed wig and costume, the maternal feelings come naturally thanks to the strong bond Jenny and I have enjoyed during our four years at Boston Conservatory.
It was easy to think “how would I feel if I had a daughter like Jennifer?”. I love her. When I see her character struggling it’s so natural for me to want to help her, guide her, and be there for her when she is struggling. Emotionally it is almost not a leap – it is the most natural behavior.
But for an audience to see it, the costuming and wig does help. That emotional backbone we share makes it an easy jump for the audience to make.
The song is almost the antithesis of what you expect to happen which makes it so wonderful as an actor. There are so many nuances and layers involved. Normally the maternal figure will soothe or be the balm to help the hero or heroine resolve something. This song is saying sometimes moments are challenging and it is up to you to be stronger than those moments. It is a galvanizing song as opposed to a lullaby.
My character has a lot of comedic moments which I love to do but then she gets something profound to say later on in the show. So I get to do it all. I feel like a winner.
Women Transitioning into a New Life in the 40s:
I was doing a lot of research of women transitioning into a new life in the 40s. It was very important because there is an abundance of wonderful information about soldiers and them coming back into their civilian life but I really tried to focus on how women would feel having been dropped into a new workforce and being in a time when women did not have the opportunity to be heads of the household. How they would feel?
I thought a lot about my family – my grandmother’s story and aunt’s story when their husbands were away. How they were leading their own sets of troops back home. They were sole caretakers of their children and running their communities alone. I thought of how strong those women would have to be.
Dedicated to Our Soldiers:
Typically for every show I do, I try to dedicate it to a member of my family and I dedicate my performance in Bandstand to my sister who is serving in the Navy.
A special thank you this #VeteransDay from #BandstandTour‘s Roxy York. ?? pic.twitter.com/0FYNxuBh1K
— Bandstand (@BandstandBway) November 11, 2019
I think the show is so important because it is able to hold up a mirror and say ‘these are people who have gone through things unimaginable to us,’ There are so many things that can happen when you serve. The show is so important because it shows so many different scenarios that can happen and how they can cope and grieve or not grieve.
Before every show, the cast does some breathing together and one member of the cast will put forth the name of veteran and we all say his or her name together and do the show in his/her honor.
Reaching out to the Veterans:
That’s another great part of the show. Every place we go, we end up meeting a veteran.
We went to a BBQ place in College Station, Texas, and the man who was making my sandwich did 2 tours of Afghanistan. He was able to sit down with the cast and share about his experiences. We were able to invite him to the show that night and did the show in his honor.
It’s really opened up a lot of doors to talk with veterans about their experience. A lot of it is just hearing what they have to say.
The Perfect Show to Take Your Veterans:
I’m thrilled to be taking my dad who is a Vietnam veteran to see Bandstand next Thursday in Thousand Oaks and when I half-teased that there likely won’t be a dry eye in the auditorium, Roxy said,
“there isn’t a dry eye on the stage either.”
So whether you enjoy theatre, dance, are missing your beloved veteran and/or want to celebrate your own living veteran, Bandstand sounds like it will be a fabulous opportunity to check out!
The tour is making 2 stops in Southern California – Santa Barbara (19-20 November) and Thousand Oaks (21-24 November) – next week. And tickets are going FAST with only 6 orchestra level seats on 19 November! So don’t miss out. Get your tickets today.
Thank you to Roxy York:
It was such a pleasure to speak with Roxy before she headed off to engage with the veterans at a VA hall in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Please check out her website and Instagram.
A graduate of Boston Conservatory and a Long Island native, Roxy has been to every contiguous state in the country after performing on the national tours of Beauty and the Beast, Annie and Flashdance. “This one’s for my sissy Jane – Thank you for your service.” Instagram: @roxyyork.