The musical Come From Away opened on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in 2017. It was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won one for Best Direction of a Musical (Christopher Ashley). A filmed version of the Broadway musical was added to Apple TV+ in 2021. But what is Come From Away about?
Come From Away is based on the true story of what happened when the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center resulted in the US airspace being closed, forcing over 4,000 planes already in the air to land at the nearest airport. Thirty-eight of those planes had to divert to Gander, Newfoundland in Canada. The town's population doubled in one day and the people of Gander banded together to feed and house the stranded passengers.
Married couple David Hein and Irene Sankoff, previously known for "My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding," also based on a true story, wrote the music, lyrics, and book of Come From Away. They used the real stories of the people who were there and many of the characters in the musical are real people or composites of real people. For example, Captain Beverly Bass (originally played on Broadway by Jenn Colella), the first female American captain in history, was flying one of the diverted planes, from Paris to Dallas.
There are a lot of characters in Come From Away, but it has a small cast of twelve, who switch seamlessly between multiple roles, using only a few items of clothing to signify the changes (Toni-Leslie James did the costume design). In 100 intermissionless minutes, they tell the stories of people falling in and out of love, making lasting friendships, and learning about cultures different than their own.
Come From Away is really about kindness. It's about what can happen when people put aside their differences and come together. It shows the best parts of humanity. It's the type of story the world could use more of these days.
Come From Away is set to close on Broadway in October 2022, but is still performing on tour across North America, in Canada, and in London.