“The Band’s Visit” is a story of connection for these times of isolation
“Good words often poetically express what the inner life of people is in a way that dialogue cannot do,” he says. “Putting these pieces together can be very difficult because you inherently operate in two conflicting modes. Sometimes the dialogue gets too explicit and the subtext surfaces, or it can be purely functional and just just passing the baton from one song to the next. It’s just a very delicate process.
While a musical is often judged on the quality and humility of its tunes, Moses explains that if the story doesn’t work, then nothing works: takes longer. “
Moses’ journey after growing up with a Jewish family in Berkeley led him to Yale University in the mid-1990s, where he graduated in 1999, and then to New York University, where he obtained a master’s degree in fine arts in dramatic writing. He had world premieres in many major regional theaters across the country, including his hometown at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in 2008. Although he also spent time writing for television for shows such as HBO Boardwalk Empire and TNT Older men, it was his writing for the stage that was his bread and butter.
Adding Tony’s winner to his long resume is quite the culmination of a successful career as a playwright, but Moses sees the award as a smaller piece of a bigger puzzle.
“The show is such an unusual job because there were some crucial contributions from people based on a movie that neither of us wrote,” says Moses, who resides in Brooklyn. “Doing something that’s more than the sum of its parts and getting a major prize like this is actually a great lesson in the fact that it’s really not about you.”
These contributions Moses talks about came from director David Cromer and songwriter and lyricist David Yazbek.
The show’s broadcast on Broadway in 2017 took place in a very different climate from the one the country is in now. Today, the pandemic has amplified a societal sense of loneliness for many. Moses believes the show brought new perspectives that come with the common experience of living disconnected lives.
“Is the pandemic creating a new resonance for the show? I would say yes, but I think what that says about the show is actually something pretty simple and basic, ”he says. “The show is about the experience of life, the value of slowing things down and taking a moment to listen and connect with what is in front of you, as well as the people you are with. It’s about those basic human needs, those things that we often ignore when we get dragged into our usual busy lives.