COME FROM AWAY shines a beacon of comfort, as the unlikely events of 9/11 forced 7000 airline passengers to land and overnight in the tiny town of Gander in Newfoundland. As town folk and passengers alike try to figure out the events of horrible day, the town rises to provide food, shelter, and most of all - friendship – to those who are stranded.
Filmed live on stage at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, the musical grabs you and refuses to let go as its relentless pace tells a tale that is familiar yet fresh. Christopher Ashley’s direction of the musical looks great on film, as we watch his excellent ensemble create airplane seats, meeting halls, and mountain tops with only a collection of wooden chairs and tables. The results are breathtaking.
The characters are all based on real people. An older woman meets a man from Texas. A mother from Brooklyn cannot reach her first responder son. Kevin and Kevin’s relationship is strained to the breaking point. But the singing, dancing, and love from the stage embrace’s the audiences in a giant hug. The large ensemble cast is excellent, as is the folk inspired band. It is clear they all love telling this story, which has now become a cultural touchstone for the 9/11 stories which might have been lost.
Gander may never be as famous as musical theater environments like Brigadoon or Camelot, but if they people of Gander have any things to say about it, their important story will always be told.