Israeli Broadway show wins almost every major Tony Award

“The Band’s Visit” wins 10 honors, including Best Musical, Best Actor and Actress and Best Book and Score.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The 2007 Israeli film “The Band’s Visit” that was made into a Broadway show won huge at the Tony Awards Sunday night, coming away with the most wins by far, with 10 statuettes.

A New York Times critic called it “one of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by” and “an honest-to-God musical for grownups.”

The plot centers around a 1990s Egyptian police band that accidentally finds itself in a tiny Negev town’s café. It presents the interpersonal relationships that could develop and the common ground discovered overnight between strangers who can only communicate in broken English.

Best Featured Actor Ariel Stachel was awarded for his inaugural role on Broadway. He thanked the show’s creators “for being courageous for telling a small story about Arabs and Israelis getting along at a time that we need that more than ever.”

But the story’s theme mainly revolves around universal human emotions – mostly those of loneliness and despair. And in his acceptance speech, Best Director David Cromer made a plea to the audience to help anyone they meet whose “despair is overwhelming.”

Read  Anti-Israel films will not receive state funding, says new culture minister

Tony Shalhoub won as Best Leading Man for his portrayal of the band’s stiff leader, and Katrina Lenk for Best Actress as the beautiful but trapped café owner to whom he eventually opens up.

The other awards won by the hit show were best book by Itamar Moses, David Yazbek for best original score, Jamshied Sharifi for best orchestration, Kai Harada for best sound design for a musical and Tyler Micoleau for best lighting for a musical.

The original film also garnered a host of Ophir Awards – Israel’s Oscars – in its time, including best film, best director, and best lead actor and actress.