Theater Critics Corner: “The Band’s Visit” on Broadway

This award winning and heart warming show gives an in depth look into people's lives and shows just how much we can learn from one another.


Gianna Jirak, Lifestyle and Fashion Editor

Ten Tonys, four Drama Desk Awards, two Obies and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, to just name a few, are some of the awards “The Band’s Visit” has received on and off Broadway. With awards and reviews like that, I was absolutely dying to see this production, and I got the chance on October 7 at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York City.

The core plot of the play is that the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra got lost on their way to the Israeli town of Petah Tikvah, and end up in the isolated desert town of Bet Hatikva due to their similar sounding names. The band ends up finding a small cafe in the town, and the owner Dina, her employee, and a frequent customer kindly take them in for the night. During these night stays, many subplots are revealed including, suicide, infidelity, and arranged marriages. Accompanied by instrumental music, new stories unfold constantly.

During the first half of the production, I sat there wondering mainly, what the play was about. There didn’t really seem to be any core plot except the fact that the band got lost and they were staying the night. However, as the play got closer and closer to the end, its true meaning came to light. This play is about people’s individual stories. “The Band’s Visit” is trying to show us how to appreciate all of life’s moments.

The final song of the play “Answer Me,” sung by Adam Cantor, was absolutely the best part of the entire production. It was a haunting, hopeful melody that gave me goosebumps when I heard it. In the middle of the song, the entire cast joined in to sing, and it was a beautiful moment. You knew things were going to change for the characters,  you knew they were going to change as people. When the play ended, it was an immediate standing ovation, the entire cast was amazing.

This is one of the very few Broadway productions surrounding the stories of Middle Eastern people, and I thought it was great. The instrumentals, sets and songs were all utterly unique; it was like nothing I’d ever seen before.

The only criticism I had was that it started out a bit slow. However, as it went on, my eyes were glued to the stage. The Band’s Visit by Itamar Moses and David Yazbek deserves every single award it received. I believe it will go on to become a classic of theater. If you can, go see “The Band’s Visit,” it will undoubtedly change your perspective on life, and probably get you a few CISL points too.