Stage Door News

Toronto: Chilina Kennedy and Sasson Gabay to star in “The Band’s Visit” national tour in Toronto

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Tony® Award-winning producers of THE BAND’S VISIT announced today the leads of the North American touring production of their multi-award-winning musical. Reprising the role of “Tewfiq”, which he originated in the 2007 film the musical is based on and then played again in the musical on Broadway, will be award-winning Israeli film actor Sasson Gabay. Joining him for the tour in the role of “Dina" is critically acclaimed actress Chilina Kennedy, a star of musical theatre both in Canada and on Broadway and famous for her brilliant portrayal of title character in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

The Toronto engagement of THE BAND’S VISIT will begin September 17 and play through October 20, 2019 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre.  Tickets will go on sale Monday May 27, mirvish.comTHE BAND’S VISIT is the first show in the 2019/20 Mirvish Theatre Subscription Season.

The Israeli star of stage, TV and screen, Sasson Gabay recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Israeli cinema at the Israeli Film Festival. Gabay is one of the most respected and outstanding actors in Israeli film with work spanning five decades, including some of Israel's most popular and critically-acclaimed films as well as international hits such as Rambo III, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol andThe Band's Visit (Israel's top-grossing film in the US).   

Chilina Kennedy is known for her role as “Carole King” in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway. She has starred as “Mary Magdalene” in Des McAnuff’s Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar and headlined many productions around the world including, the first national tour of Mamma Mia!,Atlantic Theater Company’s This Ain’t No Disco and three seasons at the Stratford Festival, including “Maria” in Gary Griffin’s West Side Story. 

“We are honored to have Sasson Gabay and Chilina Kennedy headline our national tour. In the history of Broadway, I don't believe an actor has ever originated a role on film, played it on Broadway and then continued with the tour.  This speaks to Sasson’s artistry and his commitment to this particular work.” says producer Orin Wolf. “It is also fitting that he will be seen opposite Chilina Kennedy whose world class talent is already known to Broadway fans all over the world.  Seeing these two artists together promises to be one of the great theatrical events of the season.  How exciting that this has been assembled exclusively for Broadway audiences nationwide who hunger for world class entertainment.” 

The cast will also include Jennifer Apple as “Anna,”Mike Cefalo as “Telephone Guy,” Adam Gabay as “Papi,” Marc Ginsburg as “Sammy,”Kendal Hartse as “Iris,” Joe Joseph as “Haled,” Sara Kapner as “Julia,” Pomme Koch as “Itzik,” Ronnie Malley as “Camal,” James Ranaas “Simon,” Or Schraiber as “Zelger,” and David Studwell as “Avrum,” along with Danny Burgos, Loren Lester, Nick Sacks, Hannah Shankman and Bligh Voth. 

Sasson Gabay and Adam Gabay are appearing with the support of Actors' Equity Association. 

“The producers, casting directors, and creative team have spent many months carefully building this cast for our national tour. We are excited and proud to have these wonderful actors take the story of THE BAND’S VISIT out into the world,” says director David Cromer.The tour will launch at the Providence Performing Arts Center on June 25, 2019 and continue on to play Washington, DC beginning on July 9, 2019. THE BAND’S VISIT will play over 32 cities in its first season including Chicago, Dallas, Boston, and Los Angeles.


THE BAND’S VISIT tells a delightfully offbeat story, set in a town that’s way off the beaten path, a band of musicians arrive lost, out of the blue. Under the spell of the desert sky, and with beautiful music perfuming the air, the band brings the town to life in unexpected and tantalizing ways. Even the briefest visit can stay with you forever. 

With a Tony- and Grammy-winning score that seduces your soul and sweeps you off your feet, and featuring thrillingly talented onstage musicians, THE BAND’S VISIT rejoices in the way music makes us laugh, makes us cry, and ultimately, brings us together.  

THE BAND’S VISIT world premiere opened to critical acclaim at the Atlantic Theater Company on December 8, 2016, where the sold-out, limited engagement extended twice, playing its final performance on Sunday, January 8, 2017. The show then opened at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre (243 West 47th Street) on Thursday, November 9, 2017, and went on to play 589 regular performance and 36 previews before closing on April 7, 2019. THE BAND’S VISIT broke the all-time box office record at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre twice. 

With music and lyrics by Tony and Drama Desk Award winner David Yazbek, and a book by Tony, NY Drama Critics Circle, Lortel and Outer Critics Circle award winner Itamar Moses, THE BAND’S VISIT has won “Best Musical” awards from the Tony Awards, Drama League, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, the Outer Critics Circle, the Lucille Lortel and the Obies.   It is based on the screen play by Eran Kolirin, and is directed by Tony, Drama Desk, Lortel & Obie Award winner David Cromer. 

The creative team also includes Patrick McCollum (Choreography), Scott Pask (Set Design), Sarah Laux (Costume Design), Tony Award winner Tyler Micoleau (Lighting Design), Tony Award winner Kai Harada (Sound Design), Maya Ciarrocchi (Projection Design), Charles G. LaPointe (Hair Designer), Tony Award winner Jamshied Sharifi (Orchestrations), Andrea Grody (Music Supervisor & Additional Arrangements) and Dean Sharenow (Music Supervisor & Music Coordinator).

Photo: Sasson Gaby and Chilina Kennedy.