TheatreSquared and Writers Theatre Present THE BAND'S VISIT Regional Premiere

Your first chance to enjoy a regional run of THE BAND'S VISIT in NWA

By: Sep. 28, 2023
TheatreSquared and Writers Theatre Present THE BAND'S VISIT Regional Premiere

The Band's Visit, the musical sensation that swept the Tony Awards after its Broadway debut, will have its regional premier October 11 at TheatreSquared (477 W. Spring St., Fayetteville) and will run through November 5.

The show will be a co-production with Chicago's esteemed Writers Theatre.

The Band's Visit is a musical adaptation of Director/Writer Eran Kolirin's 2007 critically-acclaimed movie of the same name. It debuted on Broadway in 2017, and at that year's Tony Awards, the show won ten Tony Awards, including the unofficial "Big Six" awards: Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical—one of only four shows in history to do so. Other prestigious awards received by the production include a Grammy for Best Musical Album and Best Musical from both the Obie Awards and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards.

In a town that's way off the beaten path, a band of musicians arrive lost, out of the blue. Under the spell of the desert sky, and with beautiful music perfuming the air, the band brings the town to life in unexpected and tantalizing ways. An extended hit in its Broadway debut, The Band's Visit rejoices in the way music makes us laugh, makes us cry, and ultimately, brings us together.

"This is a remarkable and boundlessly compassionate and humanistic piece of theater," said the Chicago Tribune's theater critic, while the New York Times—whose headline for the review trumpeted "It's time to fall in love again"—said, "This portrait of a single night in a tiny Israeli desert town confirms a lyric that arrives, like nearly everything in this remarkable show, on a breath of reluctantly romantic hope: ‘Nothing is as beautiful as something you don't expect.'"

"This show, a regional premier — meaning it's the first production of The Band's Visit since the Broadway national tour — has so much going for it: ten Tony Awards; a truly powerhouse directing, music and choreography team conceiving the show specifically for T2 and our amazing producing partners, Writers Theatre in Glencoe, IL; a brilliant cast that includes Broadway-experienced actors; plus the introduction of trans and gender non-conforming performers to the cast," says T2 Artistic Director Bob Ford.

"It's been so incredible to co-produce with our friends at Writers Theatre to see this piece come to life," says T2 Executive Director Shannon A. Jones. "Led by Zi Alikhan, our full team has brought so much care and compassion into the world of the play — from the casting to the design, this production has an astonishing new life. Every moment of The Band's Visit brings our shared experiences to the forefront, showcasing the power of human connection."

Zi Alikhan is a queer, first-generation South Asian-American, culturally Muslim theater director, making his TheatreSquared debut. Directing credits include On That Day in Amsterdam (Primary Stages, Drama Desk Nomination-Outstanding Director, Lucille Lortel Nomination-Outstanding Director); Sanctuary City (Pasadena Playhouse, LA Times ‘Best of the Year’); RENT (Paper Mill Playhouse); Snow in Midsummer (Classic Stage Company); The Wizard of Oz and Somewhere (Geva Theatre Center); Manik Choksi’s The Ramayan (currently in development at Ars Nova); The Great Leap (Portland Center Stage); A Nice Indian Boy (Olney Theatre Center); and Ragtime (PlayMakers Repertory Company). Zi was named one of TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color in 2021.

"Whenever I get to direct a play that's already had a life before, my questions start with ‘How might this production teach the play something about itself?'" notes Alikhan. "With our production, I immediately became interested in the intersection of community and language, especially languages we share, which led us to imagining a version of The Band's Visit with a company full of actors all playing their own instruments, finding language through music together. So, an exciting challenge, from orchestrating to learning to staging, has been incorporating these instruments into our world as characters, as extensions of the people who play them, and as design—I think it's going to be very cool."

Additional members of the creative team includes Andra Velis Simon (Music Supervisor), Jason Burrow (Music Director/Conductor), Sebastiani Romagnolo (Choreographer), Afsoon Pajoufar (Scenic Design), Raquel Adorno (Costume Design), Solomon Weisbard (Lighting Design), Willow James (Sound Design), Smooch Medina (Projection Design), Emely Zepeda (Stage Manager), Miranda Anderson (Writers Theatre Stage Manager), Sammi Grant (Dialect Coach), Greg Geffrard (Intimacy Coach), Kira Troilo (Cultural Consultant), May Treuhaft-Ali (Dramaturg), Jenn McClory (Assistant Costume Designer/Wig Specialist), Amber Holley (Assistant Stage Manager), and Harlie Gann-Egan (Assistant Stage Manager).

The talented cast of 14 actor/musicians includes Rom Barkhordar (he/him) as Tewfiq, Jonathan Shaboo (he/him) as Simon, Usman Ali Mughal (he/him) as Haled, Adam Qutaishat (any/all) as Camal, Yael "Yaya" Reich (they/them) as Dina, Dave Honigman (he/him) as Itzik, Sam Linda (he/him) as Papi, Dana Omar (she/her) as Iris, Harper Caruso (she/her) as Telephone Guy, Mark David Kaplan (he/him) as Avrum, Jordan Golding (he/him) as Zelger, Marielle Issa (she/her) as Anna, Becky Keeshin (she/her) as Julia, and Jacob Baim (he/him) as Sammy.

Band Members include Michael Hannah, Sarah Reed, Chris Scherer, and Christian Serrano, and Jerry Lane.

Ultimately, says Alikhan, it's the message of this musical that makes it a must-see—one that leaves an indelible mark on the audiences' heart.

"At its core, The Band's Visit is such a direct and easy reminder of the shared experiences of the human condition—that inherently, as people, we love and long and come together just the same, no matter where we are situated geographically," he says. "My hope for audience members in Northwest Arkansas is the same for audience members everywhere with this play: that it reminds us that we are all much closer in our hearts than we may imagine, and that what we share is always richer and more abundant than what we don't."

Performances of The Band's Visit are scheduled from October 11 until November 5, with 7:30pm performances Tuesday through Saturday and 2pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday. The play is in the West Theatre at TheatreSquared, 477 W. Spring Street in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. Tickets range from $20-$64. All fees are included, with no additional charges at checkout.

Subscription packages for TheatreSquared include full seven-play packages starting at $199, with four play flex packages starting at $128. Benefits for season ticket holders include savings of up to 20% on every show, free unlimited exchanges, discounted reserved parking, and same-day discounts on T2 merchandise and in The Commons Bar/Café.
Through T2's Lights Up! For Access program, with lead support from the Walmart Foundation and the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, SNAP benefit recipients can purchase $1 tickets, while students and patrons under the age of 30 can purchase $15 tickets. Fully subsidized, free tickets are also available for clients of a number of local community service organizations.

For more information, visit Click Here. Subscription packages and single tickets can be reserved by calling TheatreSquared at (479) 777-7477 or by visiting Click Here.

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