You probably don’t need me to tell you that there are a lot of crazy, scary, and unfathomable going on in the world right now. There always is. If you’re anything like me, then you probably turn to your sources of entertainment to cope with all of those terrifying unknowns. Don’t get me wrong: I love supporting new works that tackle relevant societal issues, but I’m also a sucker for a feel-good musical. The kind that draws us all to the twinkling Broadway stages in the first place. And that’s exactly what Gettin’ the Band Back Together is.
This fun and wildly entertaining musical features more laughs per minute than I ever thought possible. It’s got catchy original music that references 80s and 90s classics, the perfect blend of comedic AND dramatic actors, and elaborate costumes and stage designs that you couldn’t even find at a bigger budget production. And if you, like me, happen to be from or familiar with small New Jersey towns, then this relatable piece will ring extra hilarious.
This large cast includes Mitchell Jervis (Mitch Papadopoulos), Jay Klaitz (Bart Vickers), Manu Narayan (Rummesh “Robbie” Patel), Sawyer Nunes (Ricky Bling), Paul Whitty (Sully Sullivan), Marilu Henner (Sharon Papadopoulos), Kelli Barrett (Dani Franco), Brandon Williams (Tygen Billows), and more standout performers.
The show’s original description does it no justice: Mitch celebrates his 40th birthday by being fired from his Wall Street job as a stock broker, only to be forced to move back in with his mom at his childhood home in Sayreville, New Jersey. When he arrives in his old neighborhood — birthplace of the band Bon Jovi, he might add — his childhood musical rival Tygen (of the hilarious band Mouthfeel) challenges him to a re-do of their high school Battle of the Bands. Mitch visits his old school buddies to gauge their reaction to getting their band, Juggernaut, back together. Before they know it, they’re headed to mom’s garage to jam out like it’s 1996.
At first, it could sound like these groups of fully grown men are trying to push back their adult responsibilities and re-live their glory days like little man-boys. I’m not into that story. Luckily, that’s not really what this show focuses on.
Each Juggernaut member has found himself a respectable job in society, aside from one friend who has unfortunately since passed away. The guys reminisce, through their music, about where they had hoped their childhood dreams would have taken them. And of course, it wasn’t to thankless desk jobs that now barely pay the bills. Juggernaut’s musicians are starkly contrasted to the guys of Mouthfeel, who never “grew up” and pursued anything beyond their high school band. They’re still bullies, clinging to the plastic trophies earned in their teenage years. And yet, they inspire everyone else to dream bigger and do better.
So Gettin’ the Band Back Together tells an uplifting tale, that proves that not only are you never too old to go after your dreams, but that dreams can change and evolve as you do. It’s all part of the same journey.
With all this poignancy at work, I really can’t oversell the sheer comedic genius of this musical going on simultaneously.
I can’t remember the last time a Broadway show had me laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes, or one that lifted my mood so instantly. The thing is, though: you have to let it. If you want to pick apart all of the corny jokes, “that’s what she said” lines, or more slapstick comedy tricks, you obviously won’t have a moment of fun. But if you sit back and give this talented cast a chance to show off their impressive range, you’re sure to have a blast.
Trust me, you’re going to want to see it all for yourself.
If you go, Gettin’ the Band Back Together is now playing at the Belasco Theater, 111 West 44th Street, New York City. Get your tickets at the box office or through Telecharge now.
To see a sneak peek preview of the show, be sure to catch up with some of the show’s YouTube videos below.