Entertainment » Music

Gettin' The Band Back Together - Original Broadway Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Oct 10, 2018
Gettin' The Band Back Together - Original Broadway Cast Recording

The story isn't new: The age-old tale of the middle-aged guy who has been given one last opportunity to pursue his lifelong dream of being a rock star. Throw in some middle-of-the-road rock and roll clich├ęs, including a Battle of the Bands, moving back in with mom, and rekindling the teen romance, and you have "Gettin' the Band Back Together," which ran on Broadway for a scant 40 performances earlier this year, but now has its original cast recording available from Sh-K-Boom Records.

With original music and lyrics by Mark Allen, and a book a by Ken Davenport and The Grundleshotz, with additional material by Sarah Saltzberg, "Gettin' the Band Back Together" tells us about Mitch Papadopoulos (Mitchell Jarvis), a big-shot New York banker who gets laid off on his 40th birthday, causing him to move back in with his mom (Marilu Henner) in that mecca of big-haired memories (and hometown to Jon Bon Jovi), Sayreville, New Jersey. His path collides with his teen rival, Tygen Billows (Brandon Williams), and Mitch is motivated to, well, you know, in order to compete against Tygen's band, Mouthfeel, in the town's Battle of the Bands.

Full disclosure: I wasn't able to see the show in New York, but I'm sure that the recording serves as an endearing memento of the live experience. As a stand alone listen, however, the album contains some witty lyrics, and very strong orchestrations (both vocal and instrumental), but can't get beyond the slew of stereotypical musical homages to bring anything new to the table.

The character of Mitch comes across as a sequel to the Jack Black character in "School of Rock," and Allen, et al. even have a similar song where the band "discovers" its first groove ("What Would Joe Perry Do?"). Henner certainly adds some name familiarity to the proceedings on this particular song, but the writers ask the listener to be familiar with the Aerosmith guitarist, and then to care about how he may inspire these amateur musicians in song (with musical phrases thrown out, ranging from Billy Joel to "Les Miserables"). A novelty number ("Hava Nagila") allows the band to butcher ethnic stereotypes at an orthodox Jewish wedding (think Adam Sandler), while a cocktail-lounge style number ("Second Chances") turns into an inaudible breakdown.

The performers try their hardest to make this material work, and as a cast recording, this album may have its fans, but without the visual reinforcement, the grooves comes across as a retread.

"Gettin' The Band Back Together" (Original Cast Recording)
CD and digital formats

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.


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