Gettin’ the Band Back Together, a musical featuring garage-band rock, purports to be an original show which is not a copy of a jukebox musical or a remake of a film or popular book. It has parts that are funny and slapstick, and the music can be entertaining, but overall, this musical is a whimsical, meandering and meaningless hodgepodge that should have stayed in a garage.
The show, at the Belasco Theatre, begins with producer Ken Davenport coming on stage to introduce the show. He exclaims that this is “a totally original musical,” neither a jukebox musical nor a remake of a film or popular book. It’s the story of Mitch Papadopoulos (Mitchell Jarvis), a 40-year-old unemployed stockbroker who moves back in with his mother (Marilu Henner) in Sayreville, New Jersey. He reunites with his old high-school buddies to put their old band back together — and when his mother’s home is threatened with foreclosure, they enter a “battle of the bands” contest to win the money to save it. For a love interest, Mitch reunites with his old girlfriend (Kelli Barrett).
The book was written by Davenport and The Grundleshotz, a group of performers and writers who developed the show through what’s described in the program as “improvisational rehearsals.” Sarah Saltzberg is credited with additional material, and Mark Allen wrote the music and lyrics. Director John Rado adds comic relief, while Henner gives a reasonably entertaining performance.
Some folks might find the comic scenes very funny and the rock music somewhat toe-tapping. The one redeeming quality of the music is the good voices of the cast: Jarvis and band member Bart (Jay Klaitz) previously appeared in Rock of Ages. Otherwise, this show is not highly recommended. It might do better off-Broadway.