‘The Band’s Visit’ wins Grammy for best musical theater album
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‘The Band’s Visit’ wins Grammy for best musical theater album

Based on Israeli film about Egyptian orchestra that winds up in a dusty Negev town, play is to end its Broadway run in two months

Dean Sharenow, left, and David Yazbek accept the award for best musical theater album for 'The Band's Visit' at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Dean Sharenow, left, and David Yazbek accept the award for best musical theater album for 'The Band's Visit' at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

The shimmering musical “The Band’s Visit,” based on an Israeli film of the same name about an Egyptian band that accidentally winds up in a dusty Israeli backwater, won a Grammy Award on Sunday for best musical theater album.

The award was one of a series announced during the pre-telecast.

The show centers on members of an Egyptian police orchestra booked to play a concert at the Israeli city of Petah Tikva but accidentally ending up in the drowsy town of Bet Hatikva in the Negev Desert. Over the next few hours, the townspeople and the musicians learn about each other and themselves.

Last year it was the big winner at the Tony Awards, capturing the best musical award and nine other prizes, including leading actor, leading actress, orchestration, sound design, original score, best book of a musical, lighting and featured actor.

Still, it was recently reported that the show will end its Broadway run on April 7. The New York Times said that although the play was relatively successful on Broadway and has booked a national tour to begin in June, it failed to draw a large enough audience to sustain an “extended run.”

Reviewing the show in November 2017, The Times of Israel’s Jordan Hoffman wrote that “Though certain aspects of the film can never be replaced, like the deadpan imagery in some of its cinematography and the marvelous performance by Sasson Gabai, the stage version takes a small cinematic curiosity and enlarges it to something bold and unforgettable.”

Katrina Lenk and Tony Shalhoub in the Broadway remake of ‘The Band’s Visit.’ (Matthew Murphy)

Among the other early winners Sunday was Lady Gaga, picking up a Grammy before competing for other major awards later in the day.

Gaga won best song written for visual media for “Shallow,” sharing the honor with co-writers Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt and Anthony Rossomando. The song from “A Star Is Born” also won a Golden Globe and is nominated for an Oscar. It was also honored at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and the Satellite Awards.

The track was also compete for more Grammys, including song of the year, record of the year and best pop duo/group performance.

Hugh Jackman, an Emmy and Tony winner, won his first Grammy, picking up best compilation soundtrack for visual media for “The Greatest Showman.”

Beck was a double winner during the pre-telecast, taking home best alternative music album and best engineered album (non-classical) for “Colors.” Emily Lazar, one of the engineers who worked on the album and won alongside Beck, said onstage that she was the first female mastering engineer to win in the latter category.

Tori Kelly, who debuted on the music scene as a pop singer, won two awards for her first gospel album. Christian singer Lauren Daigle also won Grammys.

Dave Chappelle and “Weird Al” Yankovic also picked up early awards ahead of the live show, which kicked off at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

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