Review: The Band’s Visit Is Good Company

The Band's Visit

Janet Dacal and Sasson Gabay. (Photo by Evan Zimmerman, MurphyMade)

The Band’s Visit
Paramount Theatre
March 8 – 13, 2022
Get tickets and more info here

*Proof of Vaccination and Masks Required

The Band’s Visit is the ‘Little Show that Could’. It’s a small-scale musical that has delighted audiences and won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Musical. With a blend of good storytelling and the music style of the Middle East, this story tells the tale of human kindness and shows that no matter who we are, we are all the same.

The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra arrives at the Tel Aviv bus terminal. When a simple language mistake is made, the orchestra is sent not to a large city to open the Arabic Cultural Center as planned, but instead to a small desert city in the middle of nowhere. A few of the locals give shelter to the band for the evening allowing several plotlines to be explored in the process. Personal stories are exchanged, and it is realized that culture’s boundaries can be crossed as easily as that of a country.

The Band’s Visit has a good cast with most of them consisting of the band. This makes for an incredible, highly enjoyable blend of talent. There are four main characters that stand out with an amazing supporting cast behind them. Clay Singer plays “Itzik” a man-child type of adult, with a wife and small child. His voice has a low, solid range and yet takes command of the tender song, “Itzik’s Lullaby”. Joe Joseph plays the swarthy band member “Haled”. Mr. Joseph steals the scene every chance given. His voice is reminiscent of a 50’s crooner as he sings “Haled’s Song About Love” in a sweet, and a little comedic, way.

Sasson Gabay, who also starred in the original film, plays Twefiq, the band’s conductor. His character is reserved, and he allows the character to reveal the reasons in a soft and subtle way. His stage presence is undeniable, and he gives the stern conductor a sense of humanity.

Joshua Grosso. (Photo by Evan Zimmerman, MurphyMade.)

Joshua Grosso. (Photo by Evan Zimmerman, MurphyMade.)

Janet Dacal is the proprietress of the local diner. Janet Dacal is amazing! Her character is a strong woman that presents herself extraordinary well in a small town situation. She knows where she is and, more importantly, who she is in her community. Her voice is well suited with a simplicity and sweetness that is easily enjoyable. When she sings of her life as a child (the song “Omar Sharif”), she creates a simple world and easily brings the audience into a place of childhood nostalgia.

The Band’s Visit is a sweet and charming musical. There aren’t any special effects to wow an audience. Most of the songs won’t be hummed the following day. But…if you like stories about humanity, a simple slice-of-life with no political points, good stories and VERY good, Middle Eastern music played by a FANTASTIC band… then The Band’s Visit is well worth the price of a ticket.

The Band’s Visit (or in Hebrew – Bikur Ha-Tizmoret) originated as a movie in 2007. It opened on Broadway on October 07, 2017 and ran for over 588 performances. Nominated for 11 Tony Awards (2018), the musical won 10 including Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Leading Actor (Tony Shalhoub). Written by Itamar Moses with music/lyrics by David Yazbek.

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Eric Andrews-Katz

Eric Andrews-Katz

Eric Andrews-Katz has short stories included in over 10 anthologies. He is the author of the Agent Buck 98 Series (“The Jesus Injection” and “Balls & Chain”), and the author of the Greek myth series beginning with the novel TARTARUS. He has conducted celebrity interviews with some of the biggest and best names on Broadway, Hollywood and in literature. He can be found at: http://www.EricAndrewsKatz.com

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