The Band's Visit

A subtly soulful musical experience

Presented by David Mirvish
Music and lyrics by David Yazbek
Book by Itamar Moses
Based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin
Directed by David Cromer

Chilina Kennedy & Sasson Gabay in The Band's Visit North American Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

If you think you know what the Tony Award-winning musical The Band's Visit is all about before you've seen it, think again. This is not your typical Broadway show.

Now playing at the Ed Mivish Theatre, the Canadian premiere stars our own national treasure, Chilina Kennedy, and Israeli actor Sasson Gabay in a thoughtful exploration of cultures colliding. The story follows the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, who have been booked by an Arab cultural centre in Petah Tikva, but due to a miscommunication, find themselves in the sparsely populated desert town of Beit Hatikva. There is no transportation out of the town until the next day, and because the town is so small there are no hotels for them to spend the night in.

The Egyptian band members dine at a small restaurant where the owner, Dina (Kennedy) makes arrangements for them to stay the night at her apartment, at her friends' apartment, and in her restaurant. Over the course of their stay, the band members and their hosts get to know each other and discover their common humanity.

Dina insists on giving the band's leader, the reserved Colonel Tewfiq (Sasson Gabay), a tour of the town. She finds herself strangely attrached to him and his company reminds her of her childhood fascination with the movies of Omar Sharif. Meanwhile, Itzik (Pomme Koch) and his father-in-law Avrum (David Studwell) entertain another band member, Simon (James Rana). They stike up a friendship and dance to music together, but the stranger's presence doesn't prevent Itzik's family troubles from coming to light. 

Finally, the most outgoing member of the band, Haled (Joe Joseph), who is known to sing Chet Baker's "My Funny Valentine" to anyone who will listen, goes out on the town with Papi (Adam Gabay). As Papi demonstrates in the offbeat and hilarious number "Papi hears the Ocean," he is hopeless when it comes to speaking to women. Haled helps to school him in the ways of romance.   

Featuring a beautiful score and strong performances by the entire cast, The Band's Visit is a unique and moving piece of theatre. Just like the town Beit Hatikva itself, the narrative moves slowly and leaves us in a constant state of waiting for something to happen. While this type of storytelling may not be suited to all tastes (it's certainly not structured in the formulaic Broadway musical fashion), there's no denying its power to stir the spirit.  

The Band's Visit runs until October 20, 2019 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. Visit for more information and to buy tickets. 

Show Dates: 
Tue, 2019-09-17 - Sun, 2019-10-20
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