A September 12th Story about Travelers Stranded in Newfoundland
The world remembers September 11, 2011 as a tragic day that shall not be forgotten. While honoring this legacy, the husband and wife writing team, Irene Sankoff and David Hein, have crafted a more uplifting musical tale set on this day. Based on a true story, when the planes hit the Twin Towers, many other planes that were set to arrive in New York City were diverted to a small town in Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada. Specifically, 38 planes carrying 6,579 passengers were brought to this tiny town on the edge of the world, effectively doubling its population for the duration of their stay. Rather than focusing on the tragedy that took place on September 11th, the creators are billing this as “a September 12th story,” which focused on the events that took place following the horrific day. While centering the story on this unique tale of travelers stranded in an unexpected place, it evokes the spirit of rebuilding and human compassion that is necessary to overcome the hardships of that day and renew faith in humanity. This is therefore a story that sets out to heal both hearts and minds, singing the stories of the unsung heroes of 9/11, the people who opened their homes to these stranded individuals in the wake of tragedy.
The first professional production of Come From Away took place at the La Jolla Playhouse in California in 2015, followed by the Seattle Repertory Theatre that same year. With positive reception, the show continued on its journey towards Broadway, first playing an engagement at the Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C. the fall of 2016, and then at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, Canada over the holiday season. By its second week of performances, the Toronto run was completely sold-out, and the ticket sales eventually broke the record for this historic Toronto venue by selling $1.7 million in tickets in a week. Broadway previews begin today, February 18, 2017, ahead of an opening night on March 12, 2017. There is currently no closing date scheduled, as the hope is to run for as long as possible, as is the case with most new musicals. The show is directed by Christopher Ashley, who has been with the show since its La Jolla run; Ashley is the artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse. On Broadway, his directing credits include Leap of Faith, Memphis, Xanadu, All Shook Up, and many more. The La Jolla Playhouse is also enjoying a period of success with regards to Broadway transfers, as the regional theatre has also originated the upcoming Broadway productions of Indecent and Junk, and recent shows to make the leap include Doctor Zhivago, Side Show, Hands on a Hardbody, and Chaplin.
A Cast of Broadway Newcomers and Regulars Come Together
The majority of the Broadway cast has been with the show since La Jolla. The role of Kevin is played by Chad Kimball, whose previous Broadway credits include Memphis, Lennon, and Good Vibrations. The role of Annette and Beverley is played by Jenn Colella, who has recently appeared in Dear Evan Hansen, If/Then, and Chaplin. Also, the role of Claude is played by Joel Hatch (Annie, Billy Elliot: The Musical), the role of Bob is played by Rodney Hicks (The Scottsboro Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar), and the role of Ali and Kevin is played by Caesar Samayoa (Sister Act, The Pee-wee Herman Show). All of those actors have been with the show throughout its regional run. Meanwhile, the role of Bonnie is played by Petrina Bromley, who is making her Broadway debut, and who joined the show in Toronto, and the role of Oz is played by Geno Carr, also making his Broadway debut, and he joined the show in Washington, D.C. Finally, the role of Janice is played by Kendra Kassebaum (Leap of Faith, Assassins), who joined the show in Washington, D.C. as well.