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Based on Israeli film, ‘The Band’s Visit,’ wins best score in Tony sweep

Show about Egyptian orchestra that winds up in a small town in the Israeli Negev wins 10 prizes out of 11 nominations, including best leading actor and best leading actress.

The cast and crew of The Band's Visit accept the award for Best Musical onstage Photo by Theo WargoGetty Images for Tony Awards Productions

“The Band’s Visit,” music and lyrics by David Yazbek, and story by Itamar Moses, has nabbed the best musical Tony Awards on Sunday.

The musical based on a 2007 Israeli film of the same name, tells a story about an Egyptian police band that booked to play a concert at Petah Tikvah, a town in the center of Israel. but accidentally winds up in Bet Hatikva, a forgotten small town in the Negev desert. Over the day, the Arabs and Israelis getting along, learn about each other and themselves.

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The Israeli film The Band's Visit poster


The off-Broadway and Broadway play, starring Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk, had garnered 11 nominations and won 10: for Best Musical, best direction, leading actor, leading actress, orchestration, sound design, original score, best book of a musical, lighting and featured.

“The Band’s Visit,” beat out musicals adapted from more established brands as Frozen, Mean Girls, SpongeBob and SquarePants.

Katrina Lenk and David Yazbek the band visit Photo by Jenny Anderson Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

The show’s director, David Cromer, said the musical is also about loneliness and despair. Producer Orin Wolf said, “In ‘The Band’s Visit,’ music gives people hope and makes borders disappear.” He added that it offers a message of unity in a world that “more and more seems bent on amplifying our differences.”

Before rehearsals for the Broadway, critical favorite, production, Lenk who won the Tony Award for best actress, visited Yeruham, the town that inspired the story. Actor Tony Shalhoub has won his first Tony Award after four nominations.


Itamar Moses, winner of the award for Best Book of a Musical for "The Band's Visit," poses in the 72nd Annual Tony Awards Media Room at 3 West Club on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

The Jewish actor Andrew Garfield won his first Tony, for best leading actor together with Nathan Lane, for playing a young gay living with AIDS in the British revival of “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s two-part drama.

Garfield said: “We are all sacred and we all belong”, and then referenced to Supreme Court decision last week in favor of a baker’s right to deny a gay couple a wedding cake based on his beliefs.

“(Let’s) just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked,” Garfield said, to rousing applause. Lane said the play still speaks to society in the midst of “political insanity.”

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” a two-part spectacle captured six awards. Director John Tiffany asked the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to his boyfriend. They did.

Andrew Garfield, winner of the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for Angels in America Photo by Dia DipasupilGetty Images for Tony Awards Production

Melody Herzfeld, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama teacher who demanding change following the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was honored from the Tony Award stage.

Herzfeld saved 65 lives by barricading students into a small classroom closet on Valentine’s Day when police say a former student went on a school rampage, killing 17 people.

She then later encouraged many of her students to lead the nationwide movement for gun reform, including organizing the March For Our Lives demonstration and the charity single “Shine.” Members of Herzfeld’s drama department took the Tony stage to serenade her with “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.” She was cheered by the crowd.

Robert DeNiro then takes the stage and swore at US President Donald Trump.

In other wins, Glenda Jackson added a Tony Award for best actress in a play “Three Tall Women.”

Billy Joel gave Bruce Springsteen a special Tony Award. “This is deeply appreciated, and thanks for making me feel so welcome on your block” Springsteen the “Boss” said.

Tina Fey’s “Mean Girls” won nothing and “SpongeBob SquarePants” got only one for best set design.

The revival of “Carousel” won choreography award — and Lindsay Mendez, won best featured actress in a musical.

Broadway season hit another record high by pulling in $1.7 billion — up 17.1 percent over last season’s $1.45 billion. Attendance was also up, coming in a 13.79 million, an increase of 3.9 percent at last season’s 13.27 million.



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