although people usually laugh when we tell them (because he can seem like such a serious guy at times), my husband once had a job performing on a show-boat. he also served as co-president of the high school show choir (alongside his also-musical sister), and he can still slide across a stage and hit a spine-tingling bass note while singing a favorite southern gospel number from his growing-up years. and me, well i was a proud theatre-turned-communication major in college myself, and i still get teary-eyed at live performances of almost any kind. there’s something so amazing about watching people onstage connect with their audience, as they do what they’ve been so amazingly gifted to do in the world of theatre. so when i was offered the opportunity to attend a broadway-style show at the paper mill play house in millburn, nj, i jumped on it, and we made a date night of the event! dressed to-the-nines in my cute date-night-boots, my still-got-it-hubby and i headed this weekend to see the bandstand at paper mill playhouse.
selfie-ing it up. 😉
we’ve still got it. but speaking of having it…
since we moved to new jersey, we’ve fallen in love with the combination of sea-shore and pine-forest, and the proximity to such beloved, culture-rich cities as nyc and philly. how fun, then, to discover a small-town theatre with high-quality, fun performances, without having to head into the bright lights of the big cities. millburn is such a cute little town, too, with wonderful restaurants to explore, and – gasp! – an allergy-friendly, paleo-friendly, bakery! (note to self: must return when whole 30 is complete.)
our take? we adored this show. it was funny and surprisingly emotional – the deep-felt struggles of those who served our country at war were woven in beautifully. corey cott, as band-leader donny, delivers an all-in performance that at moments took my breath away with its intensity.
the sets were outstanding and the cast was such a delight! the band-members portrayed actually played their instruments live onstage; this combined with the live orchestra made for a goosebump-moment, more than once. we gladly joined in giving a standing ovation with the audience. (and i’m wishing we lived a bit closer – the not-for-profit theatre also offers classes – i think there are a few in our family who might sign up!)
here’s what paper mill has to say about the show:
A world premiere! Paper Mill produces this sizzling new big-band swing musical with an amazing original score and a plot that is full of surprising twists and turns. Emotionally charged and beautifully crafted‚ this is the story of a mismatched band of WWII veterans. Battle-scarred and broke‚ dreaming of a better life‚ they join together to compete in a national radio contest with a prize that will guarantee instant stardom to the winners. Directed and Choreographed by Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton).
a little bit of romance, a little bit of tenderness, and a whole lot of laughter and fun, this show was a great pick for us for a date night.
click here to get a preview of the show!
* note from the producers: Contains strong language and adult themes. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
as a christian parent, i would have taken our thirteen year old; there was some adult humor and mild language.
no photography is allowed during performances; all performance photos were used with permission of Paper Mill Playhouse. their upcoming season, including such hits as Pump Boys and Dinettes, A Christmas Story, and Westside Story, can be seen here.
more than once i looked over to see my man enjoying the show just as much as i was. there’s something romantic about that. (before we left, the kids lined up to take a pic of us, too, like it was prom and they were proud parents. it’s cool how our romancing each other gives them joy, too…) what’s your favorite date night?