“It’s time for fate to step aside
Grab your axe and hold on for the ride
Won’t be quiet
Won’t be chill
We’ll start a riot
Yes we will
Can’t try to fight it
Can’t be still
Step back cause we’re about to ignite it
We’re gettin’ the band back together” ~ Gettin’ The Band Back Together
The beginning of August, I had the incredible opportunity to see Gettin’ The Band Back Together (GTBBT) when it was still in previews. The show had been getting a ton of buzz, and I had been hearing amazing things from critics, Broadway actors, as well as my theatre lovin’ friends. Despite all the positive hoopla surrounding the show, I honestly had no idea what to expect. With THREE shows about bands on Broadway how original could it possibly be?
Lordy, was I proven wrong on so many levels! As producer and writer, Ken Davenport said before the show, Gettin’ the Band Back together is one of those Broadway rarities: It is an original. And in a season that has had an abundance of, while great shows, have been highly unoriginal. THIS was not only refreshing, it turned out to be the best show on Broadway.
Yes I said it. The BEST show on Broadway. Having seen it during two weeks of seeing new shows every night, Gettin’ the Band Back Together was the best one I saw.
Years in the making
The pre-Broadway journey is just as inspiring as the show’s themes. Gettin’ the Band Back Together, has been in the works since 2013. It was originally thought out through a series of improvisational rehearsals by the Grundleshotz Troupe eventually creating an improvised comedic musical with many of the original actors starring on the Broadway show.
It debuted at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey before finally making its Broadway debut in July at the Belasco Theatre. Much like the show’s protagonists, it is a journey, that proves it doesn’t matter how many years it takes, or how old you are, age is just a number, and dreams do come true no matter the age.
The Story and Cast
On his fortieth birthday, Mitch (played by Mitchell Jarvis) is fired from his Wall Street job and ends up moving back to his hometown of Sayreville, NJ (Also hometown of Jon Bon Jovi) and in with his mother (played by the award winning Marilu Henner). He runs into an old high school nemesis, Tygen Billows (Brandon Williams), and is roped into competing in Battle of the Bands, a rematch that is twenty-five years in the making.
Reuniting with his old bandmates who have since established responsible (unhappy) careers as a high school teacher (Bart Vickers, played by the hilarious Jay Klaitz), a dentist (Rummesh “Robbie” Patel, played by Manu Narayan), and a police officer (Sully Sullivan, played by Paul Whitty). They are rounded out by a sixteen year old high school drummer named Ricky (Sawyer Nunes) who is trying to reinvent himself, and like his bandmates ultimately find himself.
Behind every great rock band, is a band of even greater women. In addition to Marilu Henner, romance, sass, and encouragement in the form of Mitch’s old flame from high school, Dani Franco (the talented Kelli Barrett), her daughter Billie (in her Broadway debut, Noa Solorio), Roxanne Velasco (Tamika Lawerence) who is Sully’s partner and romantic interest, and Tawny Truebody (Becca Kote, also in her Broadway debut) who befriends Robbie, round out the story, breaking up the testosterone, adding their own sage advice, their stunning voices, as well as their own jocular quips.
It is one of those rare shows that is as much a comedy as it is a musical. The songs are intelligently written, to be both catchy, as well as down right laughing tears funny. It isn’t all heavy metal rock, their are a few ballads thrown in, as well as ample opportunity to allow the female cast, including Marilou Henner, to show of their stunning vocal chops.
While I usually sit in Mezzanine, as I prefer to view the show from above, this is a musical where sitting in orchestra is almost better. The cast is interactive, engaging the audience, and letting us feel as if we were as much a part of the show, as they are.
The chemistry between the actors is insane. This isn’t just a cast that has to work together on a daily bases and pretend chemistry, but actually enjoys each others company. Most of all, you can tell they are having a blast doing what they do.
The sets are simple, and almost cartoon like, but THAT is what adds another layer of comedic hilarity to the show. Gettin’ The Band Back Together is as well produced, written, and designed, as it is performed. No detail is left unturned in this show.
Heartwarming and Hilarious
While it is first and foremost a musical comedy, at its core it is a story that is relatable no matter how old you are. Especially in today’s climate, where working that “Safe” nine to five job instead of trying your hand at your dreams actually may not be that safe, and will ultimately make you miserable.
The encouraging and inspiring themes are done with laughs throughout, and at times, laughing so hard you cry, but ultimately you leave feeling rejuvenated, uplifted, and yes inspired TO follow your dreams.
GO SEE IT!
While I have been meaning to post this to the blog much sooner then now, (oh summer!) at the time of (finally) publishing, I learned that unfortunately Gettin’ The band Back Together is closing its doors on September 16. It is a day which could be (jokingly) called The Day of the Broadway Blood Bath, in addition to GTBBT closing, three other Broadway shows are also closing.
With only ten more days to see this show, I highly recommend rocking on over and laughing your hearts out before it closes its Broadway doors. It truly is a cannot miss show and while its’ run is ending way to soon, everyone who worked on Gettin’ The Band Back Together should be proud of what they created, which at least for the next ten days, is the best show on Broadway.
Have you seen Gettin’ The Band Back Together? What show did you wish you had seen, before it closed?