Wanna be sure you know your sh*t when Tony Awards season arrives in a few months? Get into the new musical The Band's Visit, which might just sweep all the major categories at Broadway's version of The Oscars. Last year, when it was Off-Broadway, it was simply swimming in awards...even beating Dear Evan Hansen for Outstanding Musical at the Lucille Lortel Awards. Do NOT sleep on this show...a sweep in June will mean tickets will be as hard to get as Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton!
WHY THE BAND'S VISIT IS SO GOOD
1. It's subtle, lovely, and heartbreaking. This 90-minute musical introduces us to an Egyptian band that ends up in Bet Hatikva, a sleepy village in Israel, and what transpires with the locals during their overnight stay. You have to work a little bit as an audience member to "get" this show, but the reward is ultimately very, very, very worth it. Oh, and a tale about Jewish-Arab relations with zero mention of politics? Impossible, you say? The Band's Visit pulls it off!
2. Etai Benson and Ari'el Stachel. These two heartthrobs are actual BFFs IRL and play new besties onstage. They will both get the attention of the Tony Award nomination committee with their perfect performances of young bucks Papi and Haled, respectively. Pro tip: follow them both on Instagram. They are total #friendshipgoals! @arielstachel / @etaibenson
Photos: Matthew Murphy
3. Katrina Lenk. After rocking everyone's world in last year's Indecent, she's having a real moment on Broadway and we are so lucky to have her. Audiences are going nuts for her in this show, especially her performance of the song "Omar Sharif". Katrina is a straight-up magical actress who gives the kind of performances that you'll remember for the rest of your life. Just try not to fall in love with her!
4. The direction. Director David Cromer is pulling off a miracle with this show: He masterfully has us spend the fairly uneventful evening with the people of Bet Hatikva without letting us get bored for one second. In fact, his sublime direction keeps you breathless and tingling from delight for the full 90 minutes. You'll be thinking about this show for a long time after you see it and David's direction has a lot to do with that.
5. The music. Don't expect jazz hands and tap dancing...this is a musical for 2018! The songs are, quite simply, REALLY good. Composer David Yazbeck (The Full Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) nailed it with extraordinarily diverse musical styles, even if there is a decidedly middle eastern sound when the band plays live on stage at various points in the show. Check out the cast recording on Spotify to get a sneak peek of what you're in for. Pro tip: Newbies should start with the opening number "Waiting" and then go to "Papi Hears The Ocean" into "Haled's Song About Love". From there, you'll be hooked!
Be a theater insider and see The Band's Visit. The show is a whole lot of YES (Broadway)!
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