A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to see 'Come From Away' on Broadway in New York City.
Set in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, 'Come from Away' tells the story of the thirty-eight planes diverted to land when the United States closed their airspace following the September 11 attacks. A small town with a population of roughly 9,000 people almost doubled overnight. The residents of Gander took on the responsibility of providing housing, food, clothes, toiletries, and whatever else the people needed. The plot also followed the lives of several specific travelers and residents of Gander merged together, resulting in some lifelong friendships.
I was almost two years old, living in New York City when the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers occurred, so I do not remember the horror that followed. I have heard stories from my parents and other adults who remember exactly what those moments and days felt like. As I sat in the audience of this show, I felt as I was watching this horrific event unfold right in front of my eyes. The cast demonstrated such emotion with which the story was brought to life.
While the show discusses a deeply upsetting topic, the story of Gander's role in these events shows a brighter side of humanity. The residents of this small town display such effort and compassion towards the travelers that day, doing everything in their power to make them comfortable and provide them with resources and support during such a dark time for the United States. 'Come From Away' sheds light on the friendships and connections that people formed with one another as a result of a terrible tragedy. The plot even included a scene at the end of the musical that showed how on the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the small town of Gander opened up again as those who got stuck there in 2001 returned to reunite with those who helped them in a dark time. There are so many incredible scenes displaying the great character of these people, but I do not want to spoil anything.
As well as discussing a tough topic that brought tears to many members of the audience, including myself, 'Come From Away' also provided comedic relief. I do not think I would describe the show as comedy, but the banter and funny lines sprinkled in the dialogue made for a pleasant relief from the trauma and loss that filled the other scenes. Additionally, the cast consisted of people from all different ethnicities, religions, and age groups. This inclusivity and diversity also contributed to the accuracy of the event because everyone from all over was affected by the tragedies of the 9/11 attack.
I could go on and on about all of the reasons that you should see 'Come From Away', but I want to stray from spoilers. All I can do is encourage you to do yourself a favor and go see this show. As much as it discusses the tragedy that greatly affected America, it is also a feel-good show. I have seen many Broadway shows during my lifetime, and I can honestly say that 'Come From Away' takes over as my favorite one. You will not be disappointed.