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BWW Review: THE BAND'S VISIT National Tour

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A beautiful, but simple show about human connections

The Band's Visit

THE BAND'S VISIT is an incredibly gentle, but very human musical about a band of Egyptian musicians who end up stranded in a small Israeli town. It's a show about unlikely connections as we see the Arab musicians bond with those in the small town. There's little conflict, certainly not the type that you might expect could arise from such a situation. Instead, this delicate show provides gorgeous music and a sweet and unusual story.

THE BAND'S VISIT won ten Ton Awards when it premiered on Broadway including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Direction. It's a critically acclaimed show with a Grammy-winning cast album. Luckily, the tour production demonstrates that even though the show is intimate, it plays well to large touring venues as well.

The Band's VisitBased on the 2007 Israeli film, THE BAND'S VISIT has music and lyrics by David Yazbeck and a book by Itamar Moses. The story opens with the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra arriving in Tel Aviv from Egypt. At the ticketing office, because of issues with accents and similar names, the men end up with bus tickets to a small town named Bet Hatikva instead of Petah Tikvah, where they are meant to be performing at the opening of an Arab cultural center.

The musicians ask the workers of a cafe in the small town for directions to the cultural center. Papi (Coby Getzug) and Itzik (Clay Singer) call for the owner Dina (Janet Dacal) who is eventually able to explain to the group's conductor Colonel Tewfiq (Sasson Gabay) that they are not in the right city. However, there aren't any buses until the next day, so Dina offers for the band to eat and stay the night.

The Band's VisitTewfiq and Dina bond over their past relationships and their love for Egyptian movies (in the beautiful song "Omar Sharif"). Meanwhile, Simon (James Rana) goes home with Itvik and meets his wife and father-in-law and the smooth-talking Haled (Joe Joseph) tags along with Papi on his date and tries to give him advice to calm his nerves about women.

Gabay is an accomplished Israeli actor who also played the role of Tewfiq in the film that the musical is based on. It's very exciting to get to see him bring the role to life again onstage. Dacal brings a sultry and confident air to Dina that is perfect for her character. Another standout of the cast is Joshua Grosso as the Telephone Guy, who guards the telephone waiting for his faraway girlfriend to call and has a beautiful voice in his song, "Answer Me."

The Arab-influenced music is beautiful and while the songs are great, it's the instrumental music that is the star. Many of the actors double as musicians and watching them play is one of the greatest joys of the musical. From Dina's solo "It Is What It Is" to the humorous "Papi Hears the Ocean," each song is engaging for the audience.

The Band's VisitThe show is beautifully designed from Scott Pask's scenic design to the gorgeous light blue uniforms on the musicians, designed by Sarah Laux. The sets are fairly elaborate for a touring production, with a revolve that is utilized very well.

THE BAND'S VISIT's plot is fairly simple and the whole show only lasts 100 minutes, playing without an intermission. It's a wonderful show to return to DPAC with, that's all about connecting with people and the power of music.

All audience members age 12 and older must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test. For more information, visit DPAC's website. THE BAND'S VISIT is at DPAC through October 10.

Photo Credit: Evan Zimmerman, Matthew Murphy


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