The Band’s Visit


This was a great night out and I encourage any theater aficionado to go. Katrina Lenk and Tony Shalhoub lead a stellar cast of musicians and actors that will warm your heart plus exercise your brain. The story is, as they immediately say, unremarkable but the unique strains of music and lyrics that bring out such emotional depth about one evening of an unlikely interaction of cultures IS remarkable. It is sad, sweet, funny and unusual in ways that defy my description, and I’ve seen a lot of musicals. No cheap, extraneous musical conventions here. The Israeli rural cafe owner Dina’s earthy, bohemian yearning for something greater is wisely evoked and heartbreaking. Lenk’s portrayal is Tony-worthy. Tony Shalhoub as Tewfig, The Egyptian Ceremonial Army Bandleader, is Dina’s opposite — reserved, dignified, ending his days in solitude yet he is a musician with an appreciation for beauty in life, and, thus the audience so wishes they’d pair up. We root for them both. There are myriad side stories that fit together beautifully, interspersed with funny moments and absolutely fantastic musicians that make middle eastern music — not my normal go-to, a pleasure to hear and see. I underestimated the cultures and their music so I learned something about myself which is what excellent theater does. “The Band’s Visit” is also a tidy one-act, economically just right. Stay for the short and thrilling musical encore. Still in previews. Get tickets and go. I’d be amazed if this isn’t a huge hit.

Roxanne Bok

One Response to “The Band’s Visit”

  1. We saw it a few weeks ago in previews and loved it. The NY Times review today should help keep it on Broadway for a while- definitely worth seeing, especially for Katrina Lenk and Tony Shaloub.

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