“This joyous new musical shares the incredible real-life story of the 7,000 air passengers from all over the world who were grounded in Canada during the wake of 9/11, and the small Newfoundland community that invited these ‘come from aways’ into their lives.
As uneasiness turned into trust and music soared into the night, gratitude grew into friendships and their stories became a celebration of hope, humanity and unity.
On 9/11, the world stopped.
On 9/12, their stories moved us all”.
It is such stories that form the basis for multi award-winning musical ‘Come From Away’, which will make its European premiere at London’s Phoenix Theatre from 30th January 2019, after a pre-West End engagement at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, from 18th December 2018 to 19th January 2019.
The musical tells the remarkable true story of the 7,000 air passengers stranded following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, after 38 planes were forced to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, as part of ‘Operation Yellow Ribbon’. Although the influx of passengers all but doubled the town’s population, the kindness and generosity of strangers, those residents of Gander – who welcomed, fed, clothed, sheltered and comforted these passengers – triumphed, and is justly celebrated in this heart-warming musical.
‘Come From Away’ features a book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, who explain that “the humour, the music, and the infectious generosity of spirit of the people of Newfoundland inspired us to write this musical, however along the journey we discovered that this isn’t just a Canadian story – it’s a universal story of how, when faced with global atrocities, the world comes together to respond with kindness and cooperation. We are particularly thrilled to be sharing this story with audiences in the UK and Ireland.”
Directed by Christopher Ashley, the musical is produced in the UK and Ireland by Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals.
The UK production will star Jenna Boyd (Beulah and others), Nathanael Campbell (Bob and others), Clive Carter (Claude and others), Mary Doherty (Bonnie and others), Robert Hands (Nick, Doug and others), Helen Hobson (Diane and others), Jonathan Andrew Hume (Kevin J, Ali and others), Harry Morrison (Oz and others), Emma Salvo (Janice and others), David Shannon (Kevin T, Garth and others), Cat Simmons (Hannah and others) and Rachel Tucker (Beverley, Annette and others) with Mark Dugdale, Bob Harms, Kiara Jay, Kirsty Malpass, Tania Mathurin, Alexander McMorran, Brandon Lee Sears and Jennifer Tierney.
‘Best Musical’ winner across North America, ‘Come From Away’ has under its belt a Tony Award for ‘Best Direction of a Musical’, 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards, including ‘Outstanding New Broadway Musical’, and 3 Drama Desk Awards, including ‘Outstanding Musical’, among many others.
First produced at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario, the show went on to have record-breaking runs at La Jolla Playhouse, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, and the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, with Mirvish Productions, sharing its stories with so many, the show was regularly performed to auditoriums with standing room only. The musical continues to have sold-out, record-breaking engagements across America and Canada, with an Australian production, and screen adaptation, in the works.
‘Come From Away’ explores, and indeed celebrates, mankind’s capacity for kindness, and the coming together of two groups of people – ‘islanders’ and ‘plane people’ – irrespective of race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation. It is, as described in The Daily Beast, “a celebration of the best of humankind”.
Beverley Bass, American Airlines Pilot and their first female captain, who inspired one of the characters, says of the show, “It’s not about the sadness of 9/11, it’s about the goodness that came out of it”.
According to Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News, the show is “a singing reminder that when things are at their worst, people can be at their best”.
Janice Charette, Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, said, “I could not be more delighted that Come From Away is coming to the UK… A story that captures the kindness and humanity of the people of Canada – and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador in particular – at a crucial moment in U.S. and global history. This show reminds us what good neighbours and true friendship is all about. Audiences in London are in for a treat.”