By Andrew Leshner
‘The Band’s Visit’ highlights diverse international music, passionate dialogue, and a complex predicament. Originally premiering on Broadway in 2016, ‘The Band’s Visit’ has won multiple awards, most notably two Tonys and a Grammy.
Set in 1996, the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra travels from Egypt to Tel Aviv, anxious to perform for a local Arab cultural center. The seven man band arrives in Tel Aviv and is unable to find their host from the cultural center. With only a day before the concert, the men decide to find their own way to Petach Tikvah. Unfortunately the ticket agent mishears a soft spoken band member, and the orchestra finds themselves in the desolate desert town of Bet Hatikva.
The performance juxtaposes hilarious comedy with relatable drama, which silenced the audience. This is all complimented with impeccable live music and dance. While dialogue occurs mostly between four main characters, no ensemble member is left out of the spotlight. Amplifying drum solos and rapid fire fiddling received standing ovations from the attendance. The costume and set work complement the performance, immersing the audience in a complicated predicament. I recommend this performance for theater veterans and musical newbies. The show is complex yet easily digestible, featuring passionate live music and humor which connects to a wide audience.
‘The Band’s Visit’ is directed by David Cromer and presented by Broadway in Chicago and is running until September 15 at the Cadillac Palace Theater. Runtime is 90 minutes with no intermission.