'Come From Away' — Broadway’s Newest Musical Broaches 9/11 from a Canadian Point of View

Joe Webb

by Joe Webb

Published March 6, 2017

The new musical Come from Away promises to touch on a range of emotions in New Yorkers when it opens on Broadway this month — and those emotions won’t be disappointment if the reactions from previous audiences are any indication.

Come from Away is based on true events that took place on one of the most tragic days in New York City history: September 11, 2001. In a twist, the musical does not take place on American soil. With American airspace closed because of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, 38 airplanes were instructed to land at Gander International Airport in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada.

Over 6,500 passengers and crew members of the aircrafts made the town of Gander (with a population of just 9,600) their home until it was safe for them to fly to their intended destinations. The townspeople welcomed the displaced travelers with open arms in one of the true feel-good stories of 9/11.

The concept of Come from Away was created by Canadian theatre producer Michael Rubinoff, who pitched it to Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the Canadian husband and wife team that wrote the music, lyrics, and book for Come from Away (Come from Away is their Broadway debut). The duo incorporated real-life stories from Gander residents into the narrative of the musical. The music is influenced by the island’s Gaelic folk roots and is performed by an on-stage band.

Come from Away had its first professional production at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse, best known for debuting the hit musicals Jersey Boys and Memphis, the play Peter and the Starcatcher, as well as several successful revivals that later transferred to Broadway.

The San Diego production was followed by a production at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, and a record-breaking run in Toronto. The comedic and often poignant combining of international outsiders mingling among small-town islanders has left a lasting impression on audiences in each of these cities so far.

The twelve-person cast portrays dozens of characters in order to make the people of Gander and the unintended visitors come alive. The cast includes Broadway veterans like Jenn Colella, Joel Hatch, Rodney Hicks, and Tony nominee Chad Kimball, as well as Broadway newcomers Petrina Bromley, Geno Car, Lee MacDougall, and Astrid Van Wieren.

Come from Away is directed by Christopher Ashley, who has served as the Artistic Director of the La Jolla Playhouse since 2007. His Broadway directing credits include Leap of Faith, Memphis, Xanadu, and All Shook Up. The choreography is by Kelly Devine, the Tony-nominated choreographer of Rock of Ages, Memphis, Rocky, and Doctor Zhivago.

Come from Away began previews on February 18 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, and its open-ended run begins March 12. Come from Away tickets can be purchased directly through the box office starting at just $47.
This post is sponsored by TicketIQ

Broadway & Musicals Folk
Send Feedback

Hand-Picked Music for Your Taste

Follow artists, discover new music, and personalize your music experience.
Registration and login will only work if you allow cookies. Please check your settings and try again.