The tale may sound familiar — A group of people is taken to a faraway land against their will, where they learn to cope with tragic events and bond with strangers. Sounds like the stuff of a hit movie or series, except in this case, it’s based on the truth.
Come From Away is the brilliant musical based on the tragic day of September 11th when due to the terror attacks, 38 planes had to land in the Newfoundland town of Gander, Canada, and about 7,000 passengers were stuck there for a few days. Canadians embraced the daunting challenge of sheltering the “Plane People” by treating them like their own family. Writers (and couple) Irene Sankoff and David Hein transformed this poignant event into an upbeat and sensitive musical celebrating generosity and humanity at their best, proving that in this cold region dwell the warmest hearts.
“The musical is even more resonant given the challenging times in which, masked and distanced, human connection has become rare, precious.”
You may have seen the wildly successful production in 2008, but I’d argue that this time around, the musical is even more resonant given the challenging times in which, masked and distanced, human connection has become rare, precious. It comes as no surprise that Christopher Ashley won a Tony Award in 2017 for Best Direction and that it was nominated for an additional six Tony awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. The scenic design by Tony Award-winner, Beowulf Boritt is appropriately minimal, letting the excitingly diverse ensemble fill the stage with color and form. The Celtic-inspired score, sometimes peppy and at other times melancholy, takes us through a range of emotions.
We laugh, sing along, and want to become part of this multicultural, inadvertently-formed family. At the end, we wonder what it would be like to live amongst them, hoping such human connection is possible in a world in which we feel increasingly divided.
— Rosane Grimberg
CTGLA’s Come From Away plays at the Ahmanson through June 12th. Tickets HERE.