The Band’s Visit’s Adam Gabay discusses his journey with the musical’s first national tour; in Philly 1/7-1/19.

-Brenda Hillegas
(Feature image: the company of The Band’s Visit North American Tour, photo by Matthew Murphy)

The Kimmel Center’s Broadway 2019-2020 season continues with The Band’s Visit, coming to the Academy of Music next week. We spoke with actor Adam Gabay who plays the character of Papi, a cafe worker in the fictional town of Bet Hatikva, Israel. Adam has been enjoying his first journey in not just a touring Broadway production, but also his first trip throughout the United States.

Come see him and the rest of the cast in this musical about a band of musicians lost in an unfamiliar town. Just like the story of The Band’s Visit, the show’s visit here in Philadelphia is brief- January 7th to 19th. Don’t miss your chance to see one of Broadway’s most Tony-winning musicals in history (10, including Best Musical). Grab your tickets here.

Q: The Band’s Visit is your first experience on a national Broadway tour. What have you enjoyed the most about this journey so far?
A: Yes, actually it’s the first professional theater production that I participated in and the first time that I see other places in the USA, but NYC. So I have to say that it’s kind of a mix between the great joy of doing this show everyday and an amazing life experience by seeing this amazing variety of places in one country.

Q: Tell us a bit about your character, Papi.
Papi is a good and shy boy who’s living in the suburbs of Israel. Papi has a big problem communicating with girls and he ends up finding the best help from very unexpected ways.

Q: Your father, Sasson Gabay, was in The Band’s Visit movie as well the Broadway cast and now the touring cast with you. Did he give you any advice in preparing for this show and role?
A: I always says that my father is the best acting school in the world.

Q: Do you find any similarities between yourself and Papi? Is it easy to relate to this character?
A: Papi is extremely shy and inside himself. Also, we’re coming from completely different places in the country. But, yes. In some ways I can say that I relate to this character. Everybody has a little Papi inside them.

Q: The Band’s Visit cast recording won a Grammy for best musical theatre album. What’s your favorite song from the show?
A: Hard question! It always changes. It was “Something Different”, then “Omar Sharif”, and now I think it’s “Haled’s Song About Love”.

Q: Growing up, were you involved in theatre? What are some of your earliest theatre memories and/or favorite roles?
A: Actually I did just school- high school and independent projects before, but as a kid who was in the backstage all the time, I can say that my favorite thing to do was to watch the show from the wings…something that I still do nowadays.

Q: In The Band’s Visit, a band of musicians unexpectedly arrive in an unfamiliar town and are changed forever as a result. What place(s) have you visited that made a lasting impression on you?
A: In the USA: Chicago, Illinois and Norfolk, Virginia. In the world: Portugal, France and Australia.

Q: We’re looking forward to having the show here in Philadelphia. Is there anything you’re excited to do while you’re in our city?
A: EVERYTHING! I’ve never been in Philadelphia before and I heard that’s it a great place.

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