ellie hopkins

Black Stunt woman Appreciation

Since the news about the death of stunt woman Joi Harris on the set of Deadpool 2 I thought we should big up some of the real Black Superheros

Kelsee King-Devoreaux

Professional stunt double, coordinator and author since the early 90′s. She was Jada Pinkett’s double for the Matrix. King-Devoreaux has spoken out against white stunt performers donning Blackface to double for Black actors when there are many Black performers who are capable and struggle to look for work.  

Angela Meryl

Actress, author and stunt performer extraordinaire. Who hasn’t the veteran and Taurus Award nominee doubled for Halle Berry, Beyoncé, Gabrielle Union, Rihanna, Vivica A. Fox

Natascha Hopkins

Hopkins has doubled for Halle Berry in numerous films but also Kerry Washington in Scandal

Amanda Foster

Born in Essex, this single mother of 3 was a hustling a supply teacher, model and film extra. When she was on the set of Patriot Games she heard there were no Black women stunt performers in the UK. She then started training to become the first. 50 years old and still doing YAS! 

Damita Jane Howard

Howard is the go to stunt woman for our faves doubling for Danai Gurira on The Walking Dead and Angela Bassett on American Horror Story.

Jazzy Ellis 

Independent filmaker, activist and stunt double.

Jwaundace Candece

Stunt woman, actress, writer, producer, and professional wrestler. WOW

April Weeden-Washington

She was a slayer. Nuff said. But really with skills like horse riding and martial arts Weeden has been slaying since forever.

Cheryl Lewis

Cheryl Lewis can do it all. Not only is she a pro stunt woman but she is a dancer, actor, aerialist, puppeteer and is trained in multiple disciplines of martial arts. She doubles for Simone Missick’s Misty Knight in Luke Cage.

Shellita Boxie

Started doing stunt work since 2008 and has worked on many big movies including the hunger games and Girls’ Trip


I’m not saying don’t trade it or watch it but…

I was lucky enough to have seen the show, and I agree with Richard that it is in poor taste to share such a rough cut of the show and still call it bandstand. because it’s simply not. the show has changed a tremendous amount, and a preview boot is no way for this show to be judged and remembered.

so if you can’t take it from me, take it from Richard Oberacker who wrote the show and speaks on behalf of the entire cast and creative.

you all know that I love this show with all of my heart, but this bootleg is no way for it to be remembered.

I spoke with Richard at the show, and let me tell you; they are doing everything in their power to release the footage. be patient. please.


okay, so i went to see bandstand the other day (7/15/17), and i wanted to be able to write down all my thoughts, so welcome to my ramble/review. (it’s less of a review and more of a list of things that left an impression on me and things you wouldn’t be able to get from the soundtrack)

i’m gonna start off by saying that i adored the show, even before stepping into the theater, and that this is completely unorganized and out of order, so sorry.

a few things i absolutely loved (aka all the things):

- the lighting !!!

  • there was a such a creative use of lights that really helped bring the emotions and scenes to life.
  • they used a lot of different colors and spotlights (and obviously different levels of brightness).
  • they also played around with shadows in order to create shapes and make it seem like the scene was set outside
  • the lighting really evidentially changed whenever any of the characters (mostly donny) was going through a war flashback
  • they used red spotlights at one point during one of donny’s flashbacks, illuminating the soldiers, and it really made the terror of the scene feel real
  • they also used blue lighting for a lot of the flashbacks and that was really great too
  • they had square spotlights and it was cool
  • i just really liked the lighting

- the soldiers !!!

  • they used people from ensemble dressed as soldiers to visually represent the ghosts/memories haunting the characters and it was amazing
  • while donny is playing the piano at one point there are soliders lying across the top of the piano, all piled on top of each other. but once he starts to write the music to accompany julia’s poem (love will come and find me again) they leave and come back only for a short time as they run/dance across the stage.
  • there’s a scene with all the boys (except donny) and they’re doing everyday activities, but there are soldiers following in their footsteps, matching their movements, as if they were their ghosts.
  • wayne has a scene where he checks his watch, cleans and assembles his gun, puts it away, checks his watch, and cleans and assembles his gun. for this whole scene there’s a line of soldiers behind him or spreading out, clapping constantly to represent gunshots.
  • the constant reliving of the moments before michael is almost always accompanied by the presence of soldiers

- music/sound effects !!!

  • the repetition of the line “it’ll be just like it was before” happened a lot and it was A+
  • when donny was convincing julia to practice with the band (after their performance of first steps first) they resign some of the lines from first steps first and it fit the scene really well. julia sang a bit of it while she was along and then donny sang “starting is daunting true, trusting in something new, fearful your luck will be reversed.” at the end of this scene julia says there’s a lot she wants to know about michael and donny sings the words" first step’s first" before leaving.
  • the war tune from the beginning of just like it was before was repeated a lot
  • obviously the songs are amazing, you don’t need me to tell you that

- right this way !!!

  • okay this is a combination of almost everything i’ve talked about so far plus a little more
  • the lead up to this song - WOW. they have an argument with one of the people involved in the contest about having to pay their own expenses for the trip and having to go through another audition and they’re all upset and angry and ready to give up
  • throughout the argument and after it’s over there are spotlights flashing on all the boys along with an utterly jolting and terrifying sound effect.
  • they’re all walking away/turning away except for donny and julia
  • the spotlight flashed again and the sound effect rings out, but this time donny falls to the ground in obvious pain (julia quickly drops down to see if he’s okay)
  • then the first few lines of the song are sung. these are the words that michael told donny, the words that create that fantasy that he’s working towards. there is so much pain in the way this is portrayed and donny and stays on the ground for a while, seemingly frozen/unable to get up.
  • as he keeps singing, the other boys start to turn back around to face him one by one as they are convinced by what he’s saying
  • some of them start to turn around again until donny starts singing an out his time serving, then he has their full attention, because they know exactly what he feels like
  • the whole song was so emotional and phenomenal
  • at the end they’re all lined up at the front of the stage singing, and boom that’s the end of act one

- the scene where donny tells julia about michael

  • well, i cried.
  • she’s impatient and desperate to know what happened at this point, so she keeps firing out questions and thoughts. she talks about him being buried in a place where she’ll never go and how it keeps her up at night wondering if his hands were crossed, if his suit was pressed, if his hair was combed the right away.
  • donny tells her she doesn’t want to go where he’s buried
  • “i’m still waiting” - julia
  • donny, evidently overwhelmed, starts shouting that it’s not like the movies. there were no hands to cross, no suit to press, no hair to comb, no body to bury.
  • donny and michael were camped out in a trench for three days without sleep being fired at by the enemy
  • it’s dark and raining and michael decides that they need to get out
  • they’re going to throw grenades and either fall back or charge
  • michael throws the first grenade and gets close enough that they start firing
  • donny pulls the pin out of his grenade and it falls into the mud
  • he’s searching for it frantically but he can’t find it. he can’t see.
  • he yells get out
  • he jumps out and rolls down the hill, knowing that michael has to be behind him, because he said get out
  • he rolls into a foxhole and feels the grenade go off
  • and michael isn’t with him
  • julia is begging him to stop by the end
  • he’s crying while he tells the story, choking on words
  • she runs away, telling him to “go home, donny! just….. go home
  • donny stands there unmoving. the scene changes around him, but he doesn’t move.
  • a ringing is getting louder and louder. it almost sounds like it’s the beginning of another flashback to that moment
  • there’s people talking to him (the band, the owner of a club they’re playing) but you can’t hear them
  • the noise fades away
  • their gig started twenty minutes ago, julia isn’t there
  • he calls her house, her mom answers and says she’s sick
  • and donny is broken. he masks it, but he’s so obviously broken

- the aftermath of the scene above

  • this is after julia’s mom sings everything happens and talks about how much the boys have seen and how much pain they must be in
  • julia is sitting in a chair in her house, but around her the boys (except donny) all gets spotlights and chairs spread out around the stage.
  • wayne has his briefcase with his gun in it open on his chair
  • johnny is curled up in the chair
  • everybody is displaying some of the worst parts of what the war has done to them
  • and julia is watching
  • she then writes welcome home

- welcome home (finale)

  • cried again.
  • the amount of emotion everyone was showing was amazing
  • it’s as sad as it sound when you listen to it

- the emotion !!!

  • there’s so much emotion in this story. you can tell, at some point, how utterly broken everyone is
  • they’ve all lost the people who they were because of the war, and it’s heartbreaking

- there’s a single exchange between donny and julia that is quite literally resonating in my bones

  • “i don’t need rescuing” - julia
  • “maybe i do” - donny

- when the band found out that they had signed off the rights to their song (they’d been scammed)

  • basically, nbc got all rights to their song. the band only had to be in the background of the movie, they didn’t have to let them sing their own song. if they wanted to perform their song again they would have to pay nbc
  • wayne breaks
  • he gives this emotional speech and it ends with “they wouldn’t know sacrifice if it slapped them in the face”
  • this then cues donny’s idea of “slapping them in the face” by performing welcome home - a song they would never dare put in a movie

- johnny !!!

  • overall? the guy was great
  • slow in the head due to his injuries but it was used for comical purposes sometimes
  • has a tendency to forget things
  • over and over and over mentions how his jeep flipped three times while he was in it
  • a sweetheart

- nick

  • kind of a dick
  • played with two bands, waiting to see which one would have a better song to win the audition in cleveland (however did tell donny that they needed a better song)
  • literally a constant jerk
  • * selfish
  • * not the best at all, but his actions were somewhat understandable because of what he’d been through
  • * only liked him when he let wayne live with him after his wife and kids kicked him out/left him

- davy !!!

  • a completed jokester
  • really good at hiding how much the war affected him
  • pretty great tbh
  • had a few serious moments that were made all the more important by his constant comedic facade
  • constant “screw this, screw them” attitude

- wayne !!!

  • loved him
  • had what seemed to be ocd and was a germophobe
  • VERY affected by the war
  • after coming back he ran his house like his wife and children were soldiers because he just couldn’t not do it
  • very put together and organized but obviously ready to break at any point
  • had a very emotional moment during right this way while donny talks about his time serving
  • said donny and julia deserve all the happiness in the world and i love him for it

- jimmy !!!

  • stuck by donny the whole time
  • he was awesome
  • he was the one who figured out they’d been scammed because he read over the contract they signed and actually understood it unlike the other bands (due to him studying law)
  • i just really loved him

- julia !!!

  • sensitive and strong woman
  • didn’t give in easily
  • if i were to actually talk about her in depth i would just talk about every scene
  • so just know that she was amazing and i love her

- june adams (julia’s mom) !!

  • another comic relief character with serious moments
  • super nice and sensible
  • A+

- donny !!!

  • my boy
  • he’s in so much pain
  • you feel for him so much throughout the whole thing
  • deserves happiness
  • same goes for him as it did julia, i love him too much and i feel like this already too long so i’m gonna stop

- how they got the money to go to new york

  • this was so touching!
  • the clubs in cleveland (organized by oliver’s) banded together to collect extra money in order to pay for the trip
  • they got them hotel rooms and first class tickets for the train
  • it was beautiful

- when the donny nova band (featuring julia trojan) played the revised version on welcome home for veterans and their girls

  • donny gave a speech afterwards
  • he talked about how they might not make it to the broadcast
  • he talked about how julia used the word hero in the song, but he didn’t know a single veteran who felt like a hero
  • he says that the wrong guys made it home (talking about him and michael) and i cried

- when donny and julia had dinner

  • julia’s mom was hilarious
  • donny brought pictures of michael and him from their time serving
  • he was showing them to julia and she started to break down

- just like it was before

  • all the more emotional live
  • in case you wanted to know, donny gets very drunk during this song as we see him spiraling downwards
  • in the beginning, julia is cleaning up around the house while the war scene is playing out around her
  • when donny yells get out for the first time he’s standing next to her toward the front of the stage and then she receives the telegram right after
  • she falls to the ground crying and her mom comes to comfort her/take her off stage

- why donny was so set on his fantasy

  • his fantasy is taking train in first class to new york and staying in a fancy hotel
  • he’s not doing it for himself, he’s doing it for michael

- the instruments !!!

  • w o w
  • beautiful. wonderful.
  • there are no words to describe it it was just great

okay that’s all i’m gonna put here (feel free to ask me about anything and i’ll tell you what i can remember).

overall it was a beautiful show and i am beyond giddy that i got to see it (and that it was my first show !!).


What this band means to us is true. Overwhelmingly grateful to have made music, memories, and magic with these guys over the past two years. We’ve laughed and cried; seen us at our best and worst; been with each other thru engagements, marriages, babies, sickness, and loss. Each of your distinctly unique personalities and gifts joined together to make us ONE unshakable team. I am richer, sillier, fuller, and better because of you all. #DNB #DonnyNovaBand #idiots#WarBuddies #BandofBrothers#WithTheBand #Oneoftheguys@bandstandbway #closingnight