The Band’s Visit

Desert Sunset

Once not long ago, a group of musicians came to Israel from Egypt. You probably didn’t hear about it. It wasn’t very important.

The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra lands in Tel Aviv to perform a concert at the Arab cultural center in the city of Petah Tikvah, but unfortunately, a bus station ticket-taker mistakes the band member’s pronunciation of Petah Tikvah for Bet Hativka, and sells him tickets to that desolate locale instead.

Stick a pin in a map of the desert.
Build a road to the middle of the desert.
Pour cement on this spot in the desert.
That’s Bet Hatikva.

The band members realize their mistake, after arriving in Bet Hatikva, but the next bus does not arrive until tomorrow. In their powder blue uniforms, the musicians look like refugees from a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band fan convention. With no place to go and no hotel in town, the people of Bet Hatikva take in the band for the night. Over the course of one night the band and the townspeople interact, come to learn about each other and for some, fall in love. 

The Fox’s Broadway musical series is chock-a-block full of extravaganzas. With amped music that blares and flashing lights that blind, these other shows assail the senses. All of their sound and fury is meant to distract one from the tired sameness of these revivals and revues that have dominated this series’ offerings. The quiet novelty presented in The Band’s Visit runs counterpoint to this trend.

In 2017, The Band’s Visit took Broadway by storm, when after winning ten Tony Awards, it became one of only four musicals in all of Broadway history to win the unofficial “Big Six” Tony Awards, which include Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Direction. 

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