“The Band’s Visit,” a Tony-winning musical adaptation of a 2007 Israeli film that became an unlikely stage hit, will play its final performance on Broadway on April 7, 2019. When it closes, the production will have played 589 regular and 36 preview performances at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
The show will now pivot to a national tour and is exploring international productions, producer Orin Wolf told Variety. “We’re already deep into planning a big, beautiful, expansive tour and we’re talking about several international productions in London, in Europe, and possibly in Israel and the Middle East,” he said.
“The Band’s Visit,” which centers on an Egyptian police band stranded in a remote town in Israel, recouped its $8.75 million capitalization in September 2018 and became a favorite with critics. In an age of blockbuster productions such as “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “Frozen,” many of which arrive with some kind of tentpole movie tie-in, “The Band’s Visit” was an unexpected success. Only the most voracious cinephiles remembered the original film and the cast’s biggest star was veteran character actor Tony Shalhoub. However, raves in the New York Times, Variety, and other publications helped the show break through, first in an Off-Broadway run, and later in its Broadway transfer. It was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won 10, including best musical.
“This thing has always been a labor of love,” said Wolf. “We didn’t chase the dollar signs.”
The show worked, he argues, because its story of people pushing aside cultural or religious differences to bond over their shared humanity resonated at a time of political divisiveness.
“I would encourage other producers to do this kind of work and to expand audiences expectations,” he said. “Our show is about the value of communication and of listening to each other. That’s an important thing right now.”
“The Band’s Visit” featured music and lyrics by Tony Award winner David Yazbek, and a book by Tony Award winner Itamar Moses. It is based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin, and is directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer.
The North American tour of “The Band’s Visit” will launch on June 25 at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island, followed by the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC.), the Knight Theater (Charlotte, NC), the Cadillac Palace Theatre (Chicago, IL), the Orpheum Theatre (Minneapolis, MN), the Hippodrome (Baltimore, MD), the Golden Gate Theatre (San Francisco, CA), and the Smith Center (Las Vegas, NV). Other cities will be announced in the coming weeks.