In the Spotlight: “Come from Away”


Courtesy of Come From Away

By Sara Hursey

With its powerful story, percussive music, and witty dialogue, this month’s musical in the spotlight is “Come from Away.” I saw the show in August with my choir, and each of us loved it.

Created by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, “Come from Away” tells the true story of Gander, a small town in Newfoundland, following the September 11 attacks. Home to a vast airport used by planes that need fuel, Gander was well equipped to house 38 planes that had to touch down on September 11, 2001. As thousands of passengers exited the planes, the town opened their hearts and homes by providing food, shelter, phones, and kindness.

The music of “Come from Away” combines traditional Newfoundland folk music, narration, and modern broadway elements to showcase the beautiful story. Each song carries a different perspective and enhances the plot. 

In the show-stopping solo, “Me and the Sky,” a pilot reflects on what flying means to her, and how the attacks changed her perspective. The scene is simply staged, making the lyrics and belting even more powerful.

A unique aspect of the show is that the musicians stand on stage and are incorporated in a few numbers. One scene takes place in a bar, and the band comes center stage to show their incredible skills and enter the story in a way that is not seen in other musicals. 

Additionally, the musical is nontraditional in its casting and staging. The show has a very small cast with only 12 members. Each cast member plays multiple roles, distinguished by hats, jackets, or dialectic changes. It was really interesting to watch the characters transition on stage and see the same actors play such different roles in the same production.

“Come from Away” does not have much of a set, which allows the story to be center stage. The entire show used 12 chairs and a few tables to replicate the seats on a bus, the seats on the plane, a restaurant, and other locations around Gander. 

If you have an opportunity to see “Come from Away,” you should take it. My whole choir enjoyed the show, and we would all recommend it. “Come from Away” had me crying, cracking up, and dancing till the end; it’s a must-see.