EU: Rob Clove Talks Bandstand: The Musical, Presented by FSCJ Artist Series

Link to article

EU Talks with Bandstand’s Rob Clove

Before each performance of the award-winning Bandstand: The Musical, Rob Clove takes pause to tap into the struggles facing young African American men returning home from war in 1945. He digs deep into the pressures of working hard to rise above the societal pressures and make a meaningful mark on the world. Clove found inspiration in his character, Jimmy Campbell who discovers music as a way to  cope with the horrors of war in his generation.

“I have a ritual. At the beginning of each show, I just take a moment to myself and just breathe and welcome in the energy that flows through the show. I say out loud, ‘let this be a show that moves people’.  You have to get in the mindset about what it means to be in 1945. And with that comes so many different parameters. For me obviously, I’m African American. What is it like to be in 1945 as a black man without civil rights? That’s already something that’s intense as well as coming back from fighting for a country that really was not fighting for you,” he says.

“I think that’s the toughest thing to kind of get in the mindset and realize that it raises the stakes for the role music plays in Jimmy Campbell’s life. You already have the turmoil in life from going off to war and coming back. But I think the difference for Jimmy and a lot of the other characters is the vices that they use to get past their PTSD and not being able to speak about some of the things they saw in the war. That’s helped me a lot in dealing with the universe that we create in Ohio, that world. I try to stop and remind myself before each show who these characters really are.”

Calling from a three-day stop in South Bend, Indiana, Clove talks with EU Jacksonville about his connection to his character and the universal healing power of music. Bandstand: The Musical is presented by the FSCJ Artist Series Feb. 18-23 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts (