The Band’s Visit

            The Band’s Visit tells a seemingly uneventful story of a band from Egypt visiting a small town in Bet Hatikva, with a B, Israel. This is a story unlike many others you have known. There are no major plot points, toils, villains or heroes; it is simply regular people, sharing a human connection. The Band’s Visit is a true celebration of the notion that music is the universal language, creating connections between strangers that could last a lifetime.

During the show, I found myself waiting for something big to happen. Waiting for the problem to arise so I could watch the characters solve it through song and dance. The expected did not come. Instead, we have the privilege to witness the unexpected. From silences that hold so many words, to interactions that hold true emotion and exude the vulnerability of humans in everyday life, I was pleased with the unexpected. The ability to be vulnerable and experience something real with people you know is a hard enough task, these characters share that experience with complete strangers and are all the better people for it.

Joe Joseph & Sara Kapner. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Joe Joseph & Sara Kapner. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The storytelling of The Band’s Visit is an impeccable testament to the outstanding cast (Casting by Tara Rubin Casting). Each cast member shares their vulnerability not only as an actor on a stage, but in the shoes of these completely normal and easy to relate to characters that they are portraying. I had no personal connection to The Band’s Visit, seeing this production was the first I had heard of the show. Imagine my surprise and delight when I walked out of this show feeling more emotionally connected to the story than those I have known for many years. It is that special.

Speaking to the impeccable cast, I must give mention to the leading lady, Chilina Kennedy (Dina) who you may know from one of her 1,000 or more performances as Carol Kind in Broadway’s Beautiful. She gives us a genuine and emotional performance that only leaves one wanting more. A good handful of the musical numbers feature her as the main singer, and her voice is so lovely I only wish there were more songs for her to sing.

Chilina Kennedy & Sasson Gabay. Photo by Matthew Muprhy

Chilina Kennedy and Sasson Gabay. Photo by Matthew Murphey.

The true celebration of music however, comes from The Band. The show features an outstanding pit band (Director Rick Bertone) with an extra special On Stage Band as well. The Band’s music is a fusion of musical theater and jazz with a traditional Middle Eastern flavor that will surely color you impressed and get you grooving.

The Band’s Visit is the winner of 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and I hope that you will take the time to go and see why. This show tells a story we may rarely get to see ourselves but experience everyday, the story of human connection. The Band’s Visit is a genuine celebration of music and how it brings people from all walks of life together. I implore you to go visit this small town of Bet Hatikva, with a B, not a P, (they are totally different places as you will come to find out) because it may just open your heart to strangers and so much more.

The company of The Band's Visit North American Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The company of The Band’s Visit North American Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Hennepin Theater Trust is bringing the spirit of The Band’s Visit to life with pre-show concerts for the duration of it’s run in Minneapolis. Head on over to Jack Link’s Legend Lounge before the show for free concerts celebrating music from around the world! The variety of music groups are all local musicians from the Twin Cities’ vibrant and diverse cultural communities, bringing us a range from Ukrainian folk music to Brazilian Forro and Turkish Classical! Open to the public.

 

The Band’s Visit is playing now through December 15th at The Orpheum Theater, 910 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55403. You can purchase tickets ($40-$136) online at hennepintheatretrust.org , By phone at 800-982-2787, Or at the Box Office on site.

Remaining showtimes are Thursday December 12, 7:30pm. Friday December 13, 8:00pm. Saturday December 14, 2:00pm and 8:00pm. Sunday December 15, 1:00pm and 6:30pm. Runtime is 90 minutes; there will be no intermission.

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