TAPS and "Bandstand" Offer Surviving Military Families Night at the National Theatre

Partnership Raises Awareness of TAPS Mission to Care for Those Grieving the Loss of a Loved One Who Served

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 27, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va. – Nearly 400 people grieving the death of a U.S. military service member will come together at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) continues its relationship with the Tony Award-winning “Bandstand” when the musical opens at the National Theatre on March 3. Forty military survivors will be in the audience that night in honor of their loved ones, through the partnership between “Bandstand” and TAPS.

Set in 1945, “Bandstand” tells the story of five World War II veterans who return home to rebuild their lives. Each man confronts his struggles in isolation until one of them, a singer and pianist named Donny Novitski, identifies the others’ musical gifts and enlists them to form a band. The group is reluctantly joined by Julia, a beautiful vocalist and surviving spouse, who is grieving the loss of her husband in the Pacific. After a few performances, the band realizes its music not only is striking a chord with audiences but also has the power to help each of them face the impossible.

Members of the TAPS family were invited to the show during its Broadway run in 2017, met with the cast and producers, and provided insight into the realities of losing a loved one or battle buddy. The meeting inspired members of the cast, who wanted to make sure their portrayals were accurate and honored the service and sacrifice of America’s heroes and their families.

“The families of America's fallen heroes and our nation's wounded warriors have found hope in seeing themselves in each of the characters — the healing of Julia's broken heart, Donny's joyous victory over adversity, and the resilience of each band member as they learned to live again." said Bonnie Carroll, president and founder of TAPS.

TAPS was also involved in the film version of “Bandstand,” which was released in 2018, appearing in pre- and post-show footage at select screenings. TAPS families have attended stage performances in several cities during the musical’s national 2019 – 2020 tour.

The cast and crew of “Bandstand” will visit TAPS headquarters in Arlington on the afternoon of March 3, where they will learn more about TAPS and meet the staff, which includes several survivors of military loss. TAPS staff will be on hand at the National Theatre that night to provide information about the organization’s programs and services.

The partnership is part of the TAPS entertainment program, Stars4TAPS, which creates meaningful opportunities for families, with the entertainment industry, to make new memories by while honoring the loved ones they have lost.

“We could not be more grateful to our wonderful friends at ‘Bandstand’ for creating opportunities for survivors from TAPS, across the country and right here in Washington, to honor their fallen loved ones,” said Diana Hosford, vice president of Sports & Entertainment for TAPS. “As we care for the families of the fallen and celebrate the life and service of their heroes, we are fortunate to have support from ‘Bandstand’ along with the National Theatre and Work Light Productions.”

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The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the leading national organization providing compassionate care and survivor support services for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. Since 1994, TAPS has offered support to more than 90,000 survivors in the form of peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, casework assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death of a loved one whose live included U.S. military service. TAPS services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).