The 2017 Broadway hit The Band’s Visit, winner of the 2018 Tony Award for Best Musical, comes to Chicago September 3 through 15 in a national tour directed by former Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department student and faculty member David Cromer HDR ’17.
As previously reported in this blog, Cromer won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for the show. The touring production will play at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph in downtown Chicago. For tickets, click here.
A rave review for The Band’s Visit appears in the Charlotte Observer from North Carolina, whose critic writes: “How often does a musical depend on silence? Not pauses to change a set or provide a breather to a star after a spectacular number, but true intervals of quiet where the characters and audience digest emotions in peace. The Band’s Visit offers an unusual number of those moments. The setting, an Israeli desert town where an Egyptian police band gets stuck overnight, makes it almost a cliché to call Visit an oasis of calm amid the hurly-burly of touring musicals. But that’s what it is. It won 10 Tony Awards last year for many reasons: The understated yearning of the lonely characters, the Middle Eastern-inflected score by David Yazbek and perceptive book by Itamar Moses, direction of consummate subtlety by David Cromer, an intimacy that has you leaning forward to catch the next soft-spoken phrase.”
As previously reported in this blog, Cromer visited the Columbia College Theatre Department on April 15, 2019, to participate in a relaxed conversation with students and faculty. He discussed the pressures to make the show’s pace faster and “peppier,” to meet conventional Broadway expectations. But although his producer was nervous (as was Cromer), Cromer said, he resisted the impulse to goose the show’s energy, asking: “Can we just let this be what it is? What does the material want from us?” The show became a critical success, recouped its investment, and is now on tour. It closed on Broadway after 539 performances. As Cromer told the students, “There’s a different version of the show that could still be running. There just is. And I’m glad we didn’t do it.”
Cromer’s visit was covered by The Chronicle, Columbia College’s student-run newspaper. Chronicle reporter Kendall Polidori interviewed students who attended the event, including freshman Musical Theatre major Elizabeth Sacha. “Sacha said having Cromer speak to the Theatre Department shows possibilities for students,” the Chronicle article says. “She added that so many times directors, playwrights and composers seem as though they are from a different world because they are only seen on screen and their music is only heard from afar. ‘For them to sit down and talk to us makes the fantasy seem like a possibility,’ Sacha said.” To read the full article, click here.
As previously reported in this blog, Cromer studied acting and directing at the Columbia College Theatre Department and later taught and directed shows there — including the first musical the Tony-winner-to-be ever directed, a 1994 Theatre Department mainstage production of the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.
Cromer received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Columbia College in 2017 when he spoke at the college’s commencement ceremony. A week after receiving his Honorary Doctorate, Cromer (as reported previously in this blog) won a 2017 Obie Award for directing The Band’s Visit in its original run Off-Broadway in the 2016-2017 season. Besides The Band’s Visit, Cromer’s Off-Broadway credits include directing the musical Adding Machine (2008 Obie Award, Direction; 2008 Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Director) and the plays Our Town (2009 Obie Award, Direction; 2009 Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Director) and When the Rain Stops Falling (2010 Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Director). In Chicago, he won Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing the plays Angels in America (1998), The Price (2002), The Cider House Rules (2003), and Our Town (2009).