Director/Choreographer Blankenbeuhler Talks Bandstand and Hamilton
For our Broadway week, Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with 2017 Tony nominee for Best Choreography, Andy Blankenbeuhler. Blankenbeuhler talks about his role as both director and choreographer of the new Broadway hit "Bandstand" and his prior Tony award-winning work on “Hamilton”.
"1945. The boys are back home, but the fight for a new American is just beginning. [music playing] Good stuff. That is from Bandstand. Andy Blankenbuehler is a Tony Award winner. That was from... what was the thing you did? A little show called Hamilton. A little show called Hamilton. But that was from Bandstand. You are the director and the choreographer of this new musical. You are in fact... you won a Tony for choreography for Hamilton, and you are on fire. Things are good. I'm a really lucky guy. A really lucky guy in a really exciting time in theater I think. When did you know that this would be your love? I grew up dancing. I started dancing when I was three. I had two older sisters who both went to dance class, so my parents brought me to dance class too. And I stayed with it. I sort of had a... Where was this? Cincinnati, Ohio. Right. I kind of had a mathematic brain for picking up rhythms and counts and I stayed with it. And then in high school, I started doing musicals at my school. And that's actually where I met the team that's made Bandstand. We all met in high school. Sophomore... Is that true? Sophomore year we went to a theater camp in Cincinnati at the University of Cincinnati, and that's where I met Richard. And so David Kreppel, who does vocal arrangements, and Richard and I all met way back in the 80's and all these years later have come back to make this Broadway musical. Describe the musical. 1945, a bunch of vets have come home from World War II, sort of landing in a country that feel... they don't feel they understand... they're understood. They don't know how to articulate the drama that they've been through or the dysfunction that they're now feeling and they all share a common love for swing music. So they use their music as a device, as a tool to start the road back to healing. It centers around one guy, Donny Novitski, and a war widow, Julia, who is the widow of a good buddy of his from the war. And together, they all use their music and they compete in a big nationwide contest that's to choose a song to welcome home the troops and it doesn't go sort of all as we think it might. You love period pieces? I love style. I love the authenticity of different styles, different periods. Because? I just love detail. I love the honesty that's in people's choices. I love the honesty that you make choices to deal with things that are happening in your life..."