Tony Shalhoub milks Arab roots in new Broadway musical

Tony Shalhoub
Updated 08 November 2017

Tony Shalhoub milks Arab roots in new Broadway musical

NEW YORK: It is always a little startling to hear Lebanese-American Tony Shalhoub talk in his regular voice. After all, he spends so much time onstage and onscreen trying on other peoples’ accents.
The Emmy winner has played Germans, Greeks, Hispanics and Russians and even a space alien in the “Men in Black” films. On Broadway in “Act One,” he actually played three characters — one with a Cockney accent, one with just a hint of a British accent and one who is an urbane Northeasterner.
So, it is no wonder that Shalhoub re-emerged on Broadway on Thursday in “The Band’s Visit” in a military uniform, a mustache — and a luxurious Egyptian accent. How his character sounds is one of the first things he works on.
“It’s something that, for me, really helps to find the inner life of the character, the more I work on that sound,” he said. “And it helps me get to the core of the person.”
Shalhoub plays the stiff leader of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, which is booked to play a concert in the Israeli city of Petah Tikvah but accidentally ends up in the drowsy town of Bet Hatikva. Over the next few hours, the townspeople and the musicians learn about each other and themselves.
“There’s not a lot of flash and dash and screaming and people throwing things. It’s not your typical Broadway musical because it doesn’t have that sort of size and extravaganza of noise and color,” said Shalhoub, perhaps best known for his role as an obsessive-compulsive detective on television’s “Monk.”
Though the musical has Egyptian Muslim characters entering an Israeli settlement, there is no mention of the Arab-Israeli crisis or global politics. Shalhoub said that is quite energizing.
Shalhoub grew up in a multicultural community ripe with accents in Green Bay, Wisconsin, hence his knack with dialects.
“There was a wide array of accents. And then of course I was in the Midwest, which is full of all kinds of bizarre and interesting accents, even from town to town,” he said. “It was a true melting pot and so there was a collision of many, many sounds and voices coming at me. And somehow all that stuff stuck.”
Shalhoub, 64, even delivers a tune entirely in Arabic on Broadway.


Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

Updated 16 November 2019

Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

  • Wildlife ranger Craig Dickmann made a split-second decision to go fishing in a remote part of Northern Australia known as ‘croc country.’
  • ‘That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws’

CAIRNS, Australia: An Australian wildlife ranger has recounted his terrifying escape from the clutches of a “particularly cunning” crocodile, after wrestling with the reptile and sticking a finger in its eye.
Craig Dickmann, who made a split-second decision to go fishing last Sunday in a remote part of Northern Australia known as “croc country” last Sunday, said a 2.8-meter (nine-foot) crocodile came up from behind him as he was leaving the beach.
“As I’ve turned to go, the first thing I see is its head just come at me,” he told reporters on Friday from his hospital bed in the town of Cairns in Queensland state.
Dickmann said the animal latched on to his thigh.
“That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws,” he said.
The 54-year-old said he wrestled with the croc on the remote beach as it tried to drag him into the water.
Dickmann stuck his thumb into its eye, saying it was the only “soft spot” he found on the “bullet-proof” animal.
“Their eyes retract a fair way and when you go down far enough you can feel bone so I pushed as far as I possibly could and then it let go at that point,” Dickmann said.
After a few minutes, he said he managed to get on top of the croc and pin its jaws shut.
“And then, I think both the croc and I had a moment where we’re going, ‘well, what do we do now?’”
Dickmann said he then pushed the croc away from him and it slid back into the water.
The ranger had skin ripped from his hands and legs in the ordeal and drove more than 45 minutes back to his home before calling emergency services.
It was then another hour in the car to meet the Royal Flying Doctors Service who flew him to Cairns Hospital, where he is recovering from the ordeal.
“This croc was particularly cunning and particularly devious,” he said.
Queensland’s department of environment this week euthanized the animal.
“The area is known croc country and people in the area are reminded to always be crocwise,” the department said in a statement.
Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven meters long and weigh more than a ton, are common in the vast continent’s tropical north.
Their numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s, with attacks on humans rare.
According to the state government, the last non-fatal attack was in January 2018 in the Torres Strait while the last death was in October 2017 in Port Douglas.