The critically acclaimed smash-hit Broadway musical The Band’s Visit starts and ends with a rather significant couple of sentences: 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.
But it was.
When I first learned this musical was coming to town and I read that it tells the story of human connection through the power of music, I immediately thought about how music has played a part in some of the most significant relationships I’ve had. And, how music has formed friendships with people, I would have never known in life–like my good friends Amanda, Melanie, and Donielle. The first, Amanda, I met online in a forum for a band we both loved. Without ever meeting, she invited me to be a bridesmaid in her New York wedding. Melanie, I met backstage at a concert for the same band. And Donielle, in line at a show for that band. Today, they are three people I consider sisters.
It is amazing how music can connect people who otherwise have nothing else in common, like the traveling group of male musicians from Egypt and the people they meet in Israel.
Adapted from a 2007 Israeli film of the same name, the musical is about an Egyptian police band that is booked to open an Arab cultural center in Petah Tikva, central Israel, in the mid-1990s. However, a mix-up at the border sends the band to Bet Hatikva, a small town in the middle of the desert. There they meet cafe owner Dina and a handful of her friends.
The Band’s Visit is the winner of 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, making it one of the most Tony-winning musicals in history. And now it’s also a Grammy Award winner for Best Musical Theater Album.
The musical, which is co-presented by Dallas Summer Musicals and the AT&T Performing Arts Center at the Winspear Opera House, opened Wednesday and will be in town for an impressive two weeks, closing Feb. 23. (Grab a ticker here.)
One of the aspects of this production that I absolutely loved was that it wasn’t large.
Often when I go to a musical, there is so much to see, hear, feel, and experience. While it is often exhilarating, it’s usually a lot to take in (which don’t get me wrong, I love that!!).
The Band’s Visit tells a quiet story.
The story itself is deep and complex and draws you in. But it also is unique that the love story’s perception is from the male point of view.
Some of my favorite scenes include a number where one of the locals shares the struggles of his heart when trying to speak to women, a special moment between Gina and one of the musicians when he shares what it feels like to perform, and the final scene when a guy, who spent the entire production waiting by the phone, finally gets some closure.
Without an intermission, I will say a few of the scenes–because they are conversation heavy–tend to feel a little longer than they need to be (yes, you have to pay attention). However, these scenes set up some spectacular musical numbers and one killer ending.
Both Dallas Summer Musicals and AT&T Performing Arts Centers have released their 2021-20222 Broadway series calendars. Both are jam-packed with shows I cannot wait to see. Let me know in the comments what you’re looking forward to.
Dallas Summer Musicals
Jersey Boys – Nov. 10-22
Oklahoma! – Dec. 9-20
Tootsie – Jan. 26-Feb. 7
To Kill a Mockingbird – March 2-14
Mean Girls – April 6-18
Hadestown – May 18-30
The Cher Show – July 6-18
Wicked – Aug. 4-Sept. 5
AT&T Performing Arts Centers
Sister Act – Aug. 11-16
Summer – Sept. 15-20
What the Constitution Means to Me – Jan. 26-31
Waitress – May 4-9
The Prom – June 1-6