With the lovely “Carousel” recently closing, two supremely superb musicals are playing on Broadway that simply cannot be missed. “Come From Away,” and “The Band’s Visit.” Multiple Tony Award winners each, these two unique and phenomenal shows are true powerhouse theatrical experiences. I saw both on a recent trip to NYC and both were glorious and affecting in different ways.
“Come From Away,” set in the week following the Sept 11th attack when 7,000 strangers landed in the small town of Gander Newfoundland, tells a poignant, funny and meaningful story that has touched a patriotic nerve; the influx of tourists the night I saw it were enraptured. The show is already slated to tour and is landing at the noted Ahmanson in LA on November 28th. “Come From Away,” also has universal appeal, our friend Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail recently scooped that the show is coming to the UK in February 2019.
Next on to sublime perfection of “The Band’s Visit.” The story is about 10 Egyptian musicians who land in a desolate Israeli town by mistake; the play is based on the movie of the same name. This show is simply perfection. Tony Shalhoub as the band leader Tewfiq won the Tony, but I saw the wonderful Israeli actor Sasson Gabay who played the role in the film. The goddess Katrina Lenk, playing Dina the Israeli Café owner, deservedly won for Best Leading Actress. Lenk gives one of the most memorable turns ever seen on a stage. Her singing the affecting “Omar Sharif” is a performance for the ages. Oozing with humor, charm and humanity, “The Band’s Visit,” is set to start its tour in June 2019.
So a fond farewell to “Carousel,” and thank the theatrical Gods that “Come From Away,” and “The Bands Visit” will be around for eons to come.