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Come From Away Musical - Helpful Information
Beautiful things can happen in the most unlikely of times and this is exactly what the Come From Away Musical shows in a captivating and utterly interesting way! In the confusion and despair that followed the September 11th attacks by terrorists on the USA, a small town in Newfoundland, Canada would extend the most humane gestures to passengers who found themselves caught up in the situation.
As you probably remember, the attack was waged on flights and thousands of people lost their lives. To contain the situation, airports across the USA were on lockdown and incoming flights were deflected to different locations for security purposes. About 38 planes were directed to the small, generally quiet town of Gander in Newfoundland. Clearly, this came with the pressure of accommodating the passengers in the town whose population increased at once.
What followed is a slew of kindness to strangers of different backgrounds, races and religions by the inhabitants of the town whose facilities were overstretched. From letting them into their homes to feeding, clothing and entertaining them, the town played host to people numbering well over 60% of its population! In what became to be famously referred to as Operation Yellow Ribbon, the incident has continued to gather media attention more than a decade later.
Come From Away Musical was written by David Hein and Irene Sankoff who travelled to Gander on the tenth anniversary of the terror attack. They collected stories and interwove some for the purpose of mainstreaming them into the play. Some stories, though, made it to the musical as they had unraveled.
While it was not immediately able to attract a professional producer, it recorded successes at the Canadian Music Theatre Project of the Sheridan College and at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre in New York where it was used as a showcase presentation.
The Seattle Repertory Theatre and the La Jolla Playhouse collaborated in giving the musical its first professional production in 2015. It premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in June 2015 under the direction of Christopher Ashely and featuring Jenn Collela, Joel Hatch as well as Chad Kimball. It would break box office records in Seattle by grossing the highest amount of ticket sales in a day as well as in cumulative earnings at the Repertory Theatre.
With these successes in Seattle and San Diego, the show was staged in other places like at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC between September and October of 2016. It was also staged in Toronto, Ontario at the Royal Alexandra Theatre where Come From Away tickets were virtually sold out by the second week, breaking the records at the theatre at the time. While the show was in high demand, its stagings could not be extended due to Broadway commitments. Nevertheless, additional box seats and standing room was provided over the course of its run.
For 2017, the show opened for previews in February at the New York Broadway and has been performing for standing-room-only audiences. It had an opening show in March at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The musical is directed by Christopher Ashley with its choreography being handled by Kelly Devine. The Come From Away Broadway staging of 2017 has been attended by Canadian leader Justin Trudeau, Nikki Haley who represents the US at the UN, as well as Ivanka Trump amongst other Canadian leaders.
The musical is appropriate for audience members ranging in age from ten. It shows a rich mix of the stories of the 7000+ stranded passengers and the town’s natives who became hosts in an unplanned instant! It depicts the fear and tension felt by the passengers as they worry about the safety of their loved ones back home and the effort by the hosts to comfort and make them feel comfortable. When the passengers are able to proceed with their flights home, they recount to each other the gestures of kindness that had been shown to them by the people of Newfoundland. As the play ends, the passengers and crew are taken back to Gander where they celebrate the relationships of friendships that were created at a moment of despair.
So riveting is the plot that the musical has won a fair number of nominations to this year’s Tony Awards!
Come From Away
Interesting Facts and History
Come From Away is a breathtaking and remarkable new musical on Broadway that takes patrons on the true story of how a very small town in a faraway land welcomed the entire world. Irene Sankoff and David Hein wrote the musical and Tony Award Nominee Christopher Ashley is the Director. Ashley is noted for his work with Memphis.
Come From Away is 100 minutes long without intermission and is appropriate for ages 10 and up. The show appears at the following location:
Gerald Shoenfeld Theatre
236 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10036
The Canadian Music Theatre Project originally developed Come From Away in 2013 in Ontario, Canada. The musical was under further development at the Godspeed Musical’s Festival of New Artists in East Haddam, Connecticut. From this point the musical appeared in La Jolla, California and at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. It was in La Jolla and Seattle where Come From Away enjoyed absolutely massive success leading up to its emergence on Broadway. During the late fall and winter of 2016 in Toronto, the musical shattered ticket sales records at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
Come From Away tackles the experiences immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001. However, the musical does this from an extremely clever and interesting angle. Following the attacks the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration shut down its airspace and subsequently forced about 4,000 aircraft to find a spot to land at the nearest location. Gander International Airport in Newfoundland at that time learned it would soon become the home to 18 unexpected aircraft. By the end of Tuesday, 9/11/2001, Gander would welcome 38 planes with almost 6,600 people in terms of the crews and passengers. This was quite an avalanche of folks for such a small community. In fact, Gander only had about 10,000 residents total so this sudden infusion increased the population by almost 70% instantly.
The musical incorporates modern rock and other styles as it chronicles those highly intriguing days just after the 9/11 attacks. Almost seven thousand people were stranded not entirely sure what to think of what just happened and if and when the airspace would again be cleared for travel. Numerous themes and stories develop and evolve around how the existing citizens of Gander interact with and welcome the highly diverse and colorful group of folks unfortunately stranded under these circumstances. Feelings and relationships build and grow and there are lasting effects that carry on even many years later.
Come From Away is certain to have an immense effect on audiences and bring the riveting success it has seen elsewhere to Broadway and the big spotlight of New York City. Enjoy the show.