Made my third trip to the desert with the band Sunday afternoon, and I'm thrilled to say that it was just as enchanting, affirming and emotional as ever. The Band's Visit is one of those shows that is so rich that every viewing brings you more. The little things you notice - from ensemble business in the background to the details of the set and props add more layers to this important story. Every grand gesture, every laugh, every emotion, every silence is so spot on. The company is not resting on its ten time Tony-winning laurels. If anything, the show is stronger than ever.
I really took time to pay close attention to the set and lighting (by Scott Pask and Tony winner Tyler Micoleau, respectively). I was taken by the texture of the walls, the furnishings of Itzik's home, and the way the the turntable is used, not overused, to add to the flow of evening. And the lighting is as emotional as the story, using light, and importantly, shadow to carry us through one day of life in the middle of nowhere. The warm daylight hues, and the cool blues were lovely. But just as effective was lighting from the florescent tubes!
|"Itzik's Lullaby" John Cariani|
|Katrina Lenk and Sasson Gabay|
Once again I was taken by the suave moves of the utterly charming and, yes, sexy Ari'el Stachel, who was completely deserving of his Tony Award. Yes, he has swagger and oodles of charm, but the part of his role that really affects me is when that bravado leaves his face and you can see that he struggles like all of us to please and earn respect. The man he wants to please is the band leader Tewfiq, now played by the formidable and ultimately warm Sasson Gabay (he played the role in the film, too). He acts the role beautifully, and it is easy to see why his men want his respect. And it is easy to see why Dina, the lady who saves his band for the night, is drawn to him. Tony winner Katrina Lenk is, if anything, even more captivating than ever. She exudes a fluidity, a sensuality and a mysteriousness that is absolutely mesmerizing. Both of her big numbers, "Omar Sharif" and "Something Different," were fantastic highlights.
I always felt The Band's Visit was worthy of its acclaim and 10 Tony Awards. After last Sunday's performance, I'm more sure about it than ever.
(Photos by J. Kyler, M. Murphy)