“Nothing is as beautiful as something that you don’t expect.”
This lyric from the song “Something Different” perfectly describes the essence of the musical “The Band’s Visit.”
Based on the 2007 film of the same name, “The Band’s Visit” tells the story of an Egyptian police band that travels to Israel for a performance. Due to a misunderstanding at the bus station ticket booth, they end up in the small town of Bet Hatikva instead of the desired location of Petah Tikvah. The band spends the night with some of the residents, learning about one another and overcoming language and cultural differences.
I discovered the show through Apple Music. I was listening to another musical when “The Band’s Visit” came up as a recommended album. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the first song. Little did I know that this would end up being one of my favorite musicals.
I had the opportunity to see this show on Broadway in June 2018, and it was truly a unique and simple show with beautiful music.
There are many qualities of the show that stand out to me. One of them being the small cast.
There are only a few roles, and the entire ensemble sings together for about 10 seconds in the show. Most songs are solos or duets, and, while this may sound boring to some, it made that one particular moment in the show more meaningful and impactful.
Another interesting trait is that the actors who portrayed the band members were actually playing their instruments live on stage.
“The Band’s Visit” was up against “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical,” “Mean Girls” and “Frozen” in 2018 for the Best Musical Tony award. I watched the award show with my high school drama club, and many people were confused as to why the show was winning so much. Many of them had never heard of it and were disappointed with the results. Of course, all of the shows nominated were great productions. However, I feel like many people my age tend to gravitate toward the same types of musicals.
“The Band’s Visit” stood out to me in comparison to the other nominees. I saw and heard the other nominated shows for years, and it was refreshing to see a story that was foreign to me. I also enjoy the theme of togetherness as well as experiencing a show about a culture different from my own.
I believe that people my age should have an open mind when it comes to unfamiliar musicals. At the end of the day, theater is about stepping outside of comfort zones. Not all musicals need to be a huge production to be entertaining, and “The Band’s Visit” definitely proves that. The show was unlike anything I had seen or heard before in a musical, and that is why I enjoy it so much.
You can stream “The Band’s Visit” on Apple Music.