Come From Away — A Review

In September, I blogged about how excited I was to have tickets to a local showing in concert of Come From Away, a musical that is heading to Broadway in the new year. You can read that post here.

We attended the Gander show on Saturday afternoon. It was INCREDIBLE!

Both shows in Gander on Saturday were sold out and received standing ovations.

Flawlessly executed.

Overflowing with energy, talent, and professionalism.

And generating such love and pride for the citizens of Gander and surrounding communities — who most certainly deserved it — it was truly a moving experience.

“The Come From Away musical was written to show the compassionate response by Newfoundlanders when air space closed over North America after the Twin Towers fell — diverting dozens of planes to Gander. The community took in more than 6,000 passengers for several days while planes were grounded.” — Local CBC story on Come From Away

Can you imagine if the population of your town had nearly doubled on 9/11?

The show tells the tale through the eyes of local mayors, residents, a pilot, and stranded passengers, 100 minutes of heartfelt musical numbers that show how Newfoundlanders went above and beyond with their own special brand of hospitality.

To paraphrase Canadian playwright Irene Sankoff, cowriter of the musical:

Not only did the {citizens of Gander} let people off of the planes who were {strangers} to them, but they let them into their community buildings. They canceled school for the entire time that “the plane people” were there, devoting all of their energy to taking care of them.
They put them up in their schools and community buildings, and then began inviting people home for dinner, inviting them to stay the night, cleaning their clothes, and giving them anything that they could ask for over the time that they were stranded.

Countless times during the show, we laughed out loud. And many other times we wiped away our tears. And boy, did we ever applaud! I had chills several times, and it had nothing to do with the fact we were in a hockey arena.

I could go on and on about it, but just let me say, if you have the opportunity to see the show in Toronto or New York, you should. I know I’m biased, being a Newfoundlander and all, but I think anyone would enjoy such a positive showing of humanity in the face of crisis and disaster. With all the negativity in the media these days, it was a welcome change.

The cherry on top? All proceeds from the Gander shows were donated to local charities.

The Love Story. On the left, the actors who played the real-life couple on the right, a woman from Texas and a man from England. They met during 9/11 in Gander, eventually married, and honeymooned back here in Newfoundland!
At a special dinner held in Gander over the weekend, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, unveiled a new plaque thanking the people of this province.

I think our little province and its people made quite an impression on those affected that week. To illustrate, near the end of the show, one of the “plane people” from the U.S. told her new Gander friend that Newfoundlanders can’t tell knock-knock jokes.

“Why not?” her friend asked.
“Okay, I’ll be the Newfoundlander,” said the American. “You say knock knock.”
“Knock knock.”
“Come on in — the door is open!”

This is a shining example of Newfoundland hospitality and our way of life being brought to the Broadway stage. Did I mention I was proud?

For more info, here is the Official Come From Away Website.


Originally published at jenniferkellandperry.com on October 31, 2016.