Q&A: Mike Cefalo

I chatted with Mike Cefalo from “The Band’s Visit”about the unique musical and man eating plants.

Talk about your background, where you’re from, etc.

I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I’ll get to go back home in March which will be my first professional gig at home. I did theater my whole life and went to college for theater as well. I was working regionally until I began my journey with “The Band’s Visit” in 2019.

What was your first professional job in theater like?

I played Cosmo in “Singing In The Rain” in Albany, New York. It was awesome because I got to tap dance, sing, play piano, make a lot of old timey dad jokes.

What is your favorite musical of all time and why?

“Little Shop Of Horrors” because I love a man eating plant.

What is “The Band’s Visit” about and who do you play?

It’s about a group of musicians from Egypt, who on their way to a concert in Israel, get lost in a little middle of nowhere town. They’re taken in by the towns people and we watch the night unfold. We see two cultures clash and how music is the universal language of love.

Was it tough learning the dialect?

Originally, I thought it would be. We had an AMAZING dialect coach who was brought in to help us. It’s helpful that a lot of our cast members are from Tel Aviv. We constantly converse in Hebrew. If you drop me off in Tel Aviv, I could drop hit people with all of the dirty street slang and they’d take me in.

Do you have any pre-show traditions?

Every Saturday night, we have shabbat shots after the show, to cap off the evening.

As you said earlier, this is your first national tour. What has it been like so far?

It’s been crazy and amazing. It’s cool getting to see parts of the country I never thought I would. People aren’t familiar with this show usually, and it’s different than what tours through major cities. It’s been interesting to see how people from different regions of the country connect with the show.

How tough it is to eat healthy while you’re traveling all over the country?

I LOVE to cook and luckily, I’ve been able to do a good amount of that on the road thus far. But there are some days when I just have to CRUSH a burger and fries ::laughs:: Everything in moderation I suppose.

Why do you think people respond so well to the show?

The people that know about the show at least know the score. The score was a SMASH hit when it was originally released. Then they can get the whole story behind it. The people who haven’t seen it, see a show that throws every rule of traditional musical theater out the window.

Are you excited to bring “The Band’s Visit” to Baltimore?

Absolutely! I’ve never been to Baltimore so I can’t wait to be there and experience what it has to offer.

“The Band’s Visit” plays The Hippodrome March 17th – March 22!

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