Sasson Gabay in THE BAND'S VISIT, photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade 2018..
(photo credit: EVAN ZIMMERMAN)
Legendary Israeli actor Sasson Gabai stepped into his new role on Tuesday night: star of the Broadway show The Band's Visit.
The Band's Visit swept the Tony Awards
Gabai, who originated the role in the 2009 film which formed the basis for the musical, is expected to remain in the show for at least a year.
earlier this month, taking home 10 prizes including best musical, best actress and best actor for Tony Shalhoub, who originated the role in the play. It is one of three shows in history to win the "big six" Tony Awards - best musical, actor, actress, director, score and book.
Ari'el Stachel, the US-born Yemenite-Israeli who won best featured actor for his role in the show, welcomed Gabai to the team.
"We just welcomed this legend into our company and it’s blowing my entire mind," Stachel wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of the two of them together. "Sasson Gabay is the Deniro of Israel - he’s the most recognizable and prolific actor in the country - and my cast and I are lucky to be sharing the same air as him. Literally a walking master class being on stage with him. Learning so much. So unbelievably happy that American audiences will now be able to witness his brilliance. And he’s almost instantly become my second dad so basically you can say I’m in heaven."
Since sweeping the Tony Awards, The Band's Visit has seen a surge in ticket sales, and the production released a block of tickets earlier this week through June 2019.
“Sasson Gabai is an icon of Israeli cinema, and we are thrilled this prolific Israeli actor will be making his Broadway debut in The Band’s Visit,” said director David Cromer earlier this month. “It has been fascinating to work with Sasson as he returns to a role he created on the screen as he reinterprets Tewfiq for the stage, in a Tony Award-winning musical.”