When I think of what a night on Broadway includes, I think of colorful sets, booming musical numbers and powerful characters interacting. The Band’s Visit is the opposite of this. It was quiet, it took it’s time, it was monochromatic; still it was one of the more memorable nights I’ve had on Broadway. There are so many reasons to grab your group and go see this show, here are just a few of them:
1. The instruments! For the first part of the show the instruments were trapped in their cases as shepherded by their owners dressed in amusing powder blue uniforms. Little by little they break free from their cases and the music begins to play. I loved the moments when the instruments were hauntingly brought to life by their owners and made a mental note to go see more live instrumental music. Do not leave after that first bow. My most favorite part of the show was quite possibly those final moments after the curtain call. Wondering why? Go see this show.
2. The stories! The visit by the band to the barren and cultureless desert town of Bet Hatikva lasts less than 24 hours. But so much quietly occurs when these two cultures collide. It reminded me very much of one of my most favorite shows from last season: Come From Away. When presented with strangers in a difficult situation, people set aside human differences and share their best selves to ease the plight of their fellow humans. Many of the characters generously shared of themselves for the betterment of their fellow human.
3. The simplicity! This is not a wiz bang, big to-do of a broadway show. It is quiet. It sneaks up on you. It draws you in as the layered stories quietly unfold. I think I need to see it again to appreciate this. The word seductive comes to mind as well.
4. The dialogue! Sharp, witty, caustic even, and all delivered with impressive accent acumen. It was like the characters were plucked from Egypt and Israel and plopped on stage to perform for us. That these same characters could break into song and expertly play an instrument was an added bonus. The talent on that stage was remarkable.
5. The surprise performances! The show rewarded many of the actors with their shining moments. One guy spent the bulk of his time staring longingly at a pay phone hoping for it to ring. At the end he is given his solo and we in the audience were rewarded with a chilling performance. There were many moments of this ilk and had me rooting for each and every person on that stage.
6. Katrina Lenk! This, THIS is the A # 1 reason to go and see this show as soon as you possibly can. While I loved all of the characters in the show, it was her I was kept hoping would saunter onto the stage – hips thrust forward in a “don’t mess with me,” but also “please see me” fashion. She moved like a cat and carefully considered every single aspect of her performance. It was mesmerizing to see and hear and feel her in action. Phenom! Diva in training – (though I don’t think she will embrace that part of the outsize talent equation)! Throw roses and sunflowers and peonies at her feet and give her the Tony already. She has talent oozing from her pores and I can’t wait to see what she is going to do next.
This show is like nothing you have seen before on Broadway. It is the opposite of a big broadway show. It’s quiet, it’s subdued and it’s beige. It’s also beautiful and heartwarming and a night you will never forget. SO…