In 'The Band’s Visit' on Broadway, a cultural divide comes to a small Israeli town

Friday, 10 November 2017, 11:38:35 PM. REVIEW: “The Band’s Visit” at the Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. Directed by David Cromer, it's based on the 2007 film about an Egyptian police band stranded in a remote Israeli town.
"Once, not long ago," says a character in a weird new Broadway musical, "a group of musicians came to Israel from Egypt. You probably didn't hear about it. It was not important." But the premise of "The Band's Visit" at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, scored by David Yazbek, penned by Itamar Moses, directed by David Cromer and closely based on Eran Kolirin's relatively obscure Israeli film from 2007, is that this character, this Dina, lies. It was important. It is important. It has to be important. Why? Well, this is the rare musical that understands that although the international enmity that dominates our tawdry collective time on this planet mostly is cultural, most of us actually live in towns with hardly any culture at all. And even if a band from abroad arrives by mistake in some provincial nowhere (hey, it is easy to screw up the name of a destination), even if you might suddenly be able to stand in your cafe or stultifying town square and hear an earnest fellow from far away put his lips to a trumpet and blow like Chet Baker, you probably are too weighed down, used up, weary, distracted and aged to enjoy the full sensorial dimension of the man, the art and the experience. Unless you rise to the moment. Of course, most great musicals are about characters rising to the moment to escape into the mountains, find their love, pursue their urban dreams, whatever sends us out whistling a tune. "The Band's Visit" — the "Friday Night Lights" of Broadway musicals — understands that...Read more
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