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GOOD MORNING BROADWAY FANS!! The 74th Annual Tony Awards is just 17 DAYS AWAY. We have more of your favorite legendary performances from previous telecasts coming up on our TOP 50 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. This is getting us in the mood celebrating the return of Live Theater in the Big Apple.
At # 17 on our countdown, we travel to Israel in the year 1996. There, an Egyptian Police Band arrives there in a small quiet part due to a miscommunication for their initial destination. However the residents, let them stay for the night till they catch the bus the next morning and their lives change. This is The Band’s Visit. With a score by last year’s Tony winner (and nominee again this year) David Yazbek and a book by Itamar Moses, the show is based on an acclaimed 2007 Israeli film of the same name.
From the 2019 telecast, Tony winners Tony Shaloub as “Tewfiq”, Katrina Lenk as “Dina”, and the company are chilling at a small Israeli cafe in Bet Hatikva dreaming of a certain movie star by the name of…. OMAR SHARIFF.
THE BAND’S VISIT was first conceived by producer Orin Wolf after seeing the original movie at a Film Festival in 2008. He was immediately moved by how the story was. A few weeks later, the film started coming back to him so often, he gave himself the courage to reach out to the film’s writer and director Eran Kolirin to adapt it into a musical. However, Kolirin at first refused at the idea. It wasn’t till something inside of him began to have a change of heart, he finally decided YES. From there, the development of the stage musical began going through several years of readings and workshops.
The show had its official world premiere OFF Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in 2016. It received rave reviews and a huge word of mouth following from Theatergoers everywhere, the show officially transferred to Broadway a year later. The ON Broadway run played the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and most recently closed after 38 previews and 589 regular performances. Under the direction of David Cromer, the cast included…
Tony Shaloub (later Dariush Kashani and the film’s leading man Sasson Gabai) as “Tewfiq”,
Katrina Lenk as “Dina”,
Tony nominee John Cariani (later Brandon Uranowitz and Pomme Koch) as “Itzik”,
Tony winner Ari’el Stachel as “Halded”,
George Abud (later Samir Shukry) as “Camal”,
Etai Benson as “Papi”,
Adam Kantor as “Telephone Guy”,
Bill Army as “Zegler”,
Andrew Polk as “Avrum”,
Rachel Prather as “Julia”,
Jonathan Raviv as “Sammy”,
Sharone Sayegh as “Anna”,
Kristen Sieh as “Iris”,
Alex Tewari as “Simon”.
The show was nominated for 11 Tony Awards winning 10 including BEST MUSICAL.
THE BAND’S VISIT is set to relaunch its ongoing North American National Tour. It initially launched in the Summer of 2019 before getting abruptly shutdown by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will continue to play across North America for a year.
Isn’t this musical so beautiful, laid back, relaxing, and intimate?

The Band’s Visit perform “Omar Sharif” at the 2018 Tony Awards – YouTube

Mike Haber
Author: Mike Haber

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