The Band's Visit: an uplifting story of human kindness

The Band's Visit: an uplifting story of human kindness
The Bands Visit at Cadillac Palace Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

“Once not long ago, a group of musicians came to Israel from Egypt, you probably didn’t hear about it. It wasn’t very important” ...the introduction to "The Band's Visit"

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Sometimes music speaks louder than words.

That is the case when an Egyptian Police Band find themselves in a remote village in the middle of the Israeli desert--where language is the barrier but music is the bridge--in "The Band's Visit" now playing at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph) for a limited two-week engagement through September 15, 2019.

The story unfolds due to a mix up involving language at the border where the band thought they were on their way to perform in the large cultural center of Pehta Tikva but instead find themselves stuck in Bet Hatikva--an enclave in the middle of nowhere--with no way out.

The Bands Visit at Cadillac Palace Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The Bands Visit at Cadillac Palace Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

With no bus until morning and no hotel in sight, the band is at a loss to know what to do. But the locals step in with a warm welcome and the human connection takes over.

Winner of ten 2018 Tonys, including Best Musical, the award-winning Israeli slice of life story has taken on a life of its own ever since the 2007 film of the same name got the ball rolling.

Film critic Roger Ebert named "The Band's Visit" one of his favorite films from 2008 saying "although the writing doesn’t deliver the kind of narrative payoffs viewers might expect, it does do something more valuable: It shows both Arabs and Israelis as “ordinary people with ordinary hopes, lives and disappointments.”

Company of The Bands Visit at Cadillac Palace Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Company of The Bands Visit at Cadillac Palace Theatre. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

It is refreshing to know that this endearing human story has captured the hearts and accolades of so many and was able to beat out highly touted competitors including "Mean Girls" among others to win 10 of 11 Tonys at the 2018 awards ceremony--breaking the all-time box office record at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre twice.

In the touring production of "The Band's Visit, actor Sasson Gabay reprises his role as “Tewfiq” from the 2007 film version as well as on Broadway. Joining him on the tour is Chilina Kennedy in the role of “Dina” (known best for her historic run as Carole King in Broadway’s Beautiful – The Carole King Musical).

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The cast also includes Jennifer Apple as “Anna,” Mike Cefalo as “Telephone Guy,” Adam Gabay as “Papi,” Marc Ginsburg as “Sammy,” Kendal Hartse as “Iris,” Joe Joseph as “Haled,” Sara Kapner as “Julia,” Pomme Koch as “Itzik,” Ronnie Malley as “Camal,” James Rana as “Simon,” Or Schraiber as “Zelger,” and David Studwell as “Avrum,” along with Danny Burgos, Loren Lester, Nick Sacks, Hannah Shankman and Bligh Voth.

"The Band's Visit"  features music and lyrics by Tony and Drama Desk Award winner David Yazbek, and a book by Tony Award, NY Drama Critics Circle, Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards winner Itamar Moses. It is based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin, and is directed by Tony, Drama Desk, Lortel & Obie Award winner David Cromer.

The creative team also includes Patrick McCollum (Choreography), Scott Pask (Set Design), Sarah Laux (Costume Design), Tony Award winner Tyler Micoleau (Lighting Design), Tony Award winner Kai Harada (Sound Design), Maya Ciarrocchi (Projection Design), Charles G. LaPointe (Hair Designer), Tony Award winner Jamshied Sharifi (Orchestrations), Andrea Grody (Music Supervisor, Music Director & Additional Arrangements) and Dean Sharenow (Music Supervisor & Music Coordinator).

About "The Band's Visit"

"The Band's Visit" won 10 2018 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Yazbek), Best Book (Itamar Moses), Lead Actress (Katrina Lenk), Lead Actor (Tony Shalhoub), Featured Actor (Ari’el Stachel), Lighting Design (Tyler Micoleau), Sound Design (Kai Harada), Orchestrations (Jamshied Sharifi) and Director (David Cromer); the Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical; the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical; two Lucille Lortel Awards, for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical (Katrina Lenk); two Outer Critics Circle Awards, for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding Score (David Yazbek); two Obie Awards, for Musical Theater (David Yazbek & Itamar Moses), and Directing (David Cromer); three Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding Director of a Musical (David Cromer), Outstanding Music (David Yazbek) and Outstanding Lyrics (David Yazbek); The Joe A. Callaway Award for outstanding direction (David Cromer); The Dramatists Guild’s 2017 Frederick Loewe Award for Dramatic Composition for David Yazbek’s score; and Theatre World Award’s Dorothy Louden Award for Theatre Excellence (Katrina Lenk). THE BAND’S VISIT has broken the all-time box office record at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre twice.

The original Broadway cast album received the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

Rating: 4 stars
What: The Band's Visit
Where: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St.
When: Runs Sep 03  Sep 15, 2019
Tickets$39-$106 with a select number of premium tickets available. Visit Broadway in Chicago 
Run time: 90 minutes, no intermission

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Filed under: Theater in Chicago

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