‘The Band’s Visit’ is already a Tony favorite -

‘The Band’s Visit’ is already a Tony favorite

‘The Band’s Visit’ is already a Tony favorite




Broadway musicals are getting costlier each season, however there’s nonetheless loads of cash to be made on a shoestring funds.

One of many greatest hits thus far this season is “The Band’s Go to,” which price about $6 million. That’s peanuts — or bananas — in contrast with the $35 million being spent on “King Kong,” which opens within the fall.

“The Band’s Go to” is more likely to recoup by the Tony Awards in June. A charmer of a present, it appears to be settling in for a pleasant long term on the Ethel Barrymore. A touring manufacturing, which kicks off subsequent yr, is already booked in main cities across the nation.

The present, which began off on the 199-seat Atlantic Theater Firm, is popping out to be one hell of a little bit slot machine for its traders.

It’s additionally a triumph for composer David Yazbek, a gifted man who’s had some dangerous breaks. When Yazbek opened his terrific musical “The Full Monty” within the fall of 2000, many thought it was going to rack up all of the Tonys. Then “The Producers” got here alongside, and despite the fact that it ran for 2 years, “The Full Monty” went residence empty-handed and closed prematurely.

“Apparently, I used to be not as new and recent as 80-year-old Mel Brooks,” Yazbek tells me, laughing.

His subsequent present, the underrated “Soiled Rotten Scoundrels,” was swept apart by one other boisterous musical comedy, “Spamalot.”

The sense on Broadway is that Yazbek is lengthy overdue for Tony recognition. “Imply Ladies,” “Frozen” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” are contenders, definitely, however proper now, “The Band’s Go to” is the one to beat.

Primarily based on the 2007 film, “The Band’s Go to” is about an Egyptian army band of musicians that, resulting from a bus ticket mix-up, mistakenly arrives in a boring and dusty little Israeli city.

Katrina Lenk, who performs the bored, cynical proprietor of a little bit cafe, is sensational, as is Tony Shalhoub, humorous and touching because the uptight bandleader. Most of the supporting gamers — John Cariani, Andrew Polk, Alok Tewari and George Abud — can also be within the combine come Tony time.

Shalhoub with Katrina Lenk.Matt Murphy“The Band’s Go to” isn’t a conventional musical. There are not any massive dance numbers or eye-popping particular results — simply human beings, misplaced and lonely, searching for a little bit of pleasure of their humdrum lives.

With advance ticket gross sales over $10 million, it’s additionally a little bit present that’s discovered an enormous viewers.

Among the finest exhibits I’ve seen all yr was the tribute to Barbara Cook dinner on the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Monday night time. Directed by James Lapine, it was candy, humorous, touching and slightly below two hours.

Cook dinner starred on Broadway in “The Music Man” and “She Loves Me.” Her profession fell aside after an extended battle with despair and alcoholism, however she emerged to develop into the main feminine interpreter of the American songbook.

Behind her Southern attraction was a sassy broad, who may “cuss” like a longshoreman. Her buddy Frank Langella recalled bringing her to a cocktail party at Barbara Walters’ house. The place was filled with the excessive and mighty, together with Henry Kissinger. Cook dinner was intimidated: “Not my crowd,” she instructed Langella.

Walters coaxed her to sing, which she didn’t need to do. However she carried out “You’ll By no means Know” and broke everybody’s coronary heart. Then she sat subsequent to Langella, took his hand and whispered, “I’ll by no means f - - king forgive you for this.”

She did, after all. They remained pals till the night time she died, in August, at 89.