“Somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of who knows where” is how one might describe the town of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. A town where everyone knows everyone and everyday is just like the last. On Sep. 11, 2001, that all changed. This is the setting for the hit Broadway musical, “Come From Away.” The show premiered on Broadway in 2017, and in September of 2021, a professional recording of the show was made available on Apple TV+ in honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Now the masses who were unable to see live theater have access to this show. I was lucky to see this musical when it was on tour in 2019, and I am extremely pleased that more people will be able to see it. A show that blends catchy and fun songs with an important message of heart and hope, “Come From Away” is a must see for anyone.
On Sep. 11, many flights in the air during the attacks had to be redirected, and dozens of planes redirected to Gander Airport, an airport that is seen as a crossroads. This led to the mingling of small town Gander folks with people flying from big cities who had previously never even heard of Gander. On paper, and in first impressions, they have nothing in common. However, as the days go on, people start to bond with each other and build true connections. Based on a true story and true experiences, this musical shows new friendships, and new romantic relationships, bloom. However, even though people are trying to enjoy their time in this new town, both old residents and newcomers, the tragedy on Sep. 11 still looms over their heads and their hearts. For example, one woman who flew into Gander has a son who is a firefighter that worked during Sep. 11, and she spends her days wondering if he is okay. This is a show that does have light moments and humor, but it also has emotional, serious moments that evoke empathy for these characters as well as the actual people who had to go through this tragedy. “Come From Away” makes you go back and forth between a smile on their face and a tug at their heart strings with a beautiful story.
Not only does “Come From Away” present an inspiring story, but it also features a soundtrack that people will be humming for weeks. In a Tony Nominated Score, any audience member can find a song that speaks to them. This may be the thunderous and energetic opening number “Welcome to the Rock” or it could be the feminist anthem “Me and the Sky.” It could be the fun and danceable number “Heave Away” or the emotional “Something’s Missing.” All of the songs have something to offer and cannot be put into any specific genre. The score was written by husband-and-wife team David Hein and Irene Sankoff in their first Broadway musical. While I highly recommend that people see this musical, if someone honestly does not have the time, at the very least they should listen to the score of this musical and get captivated by the story through the ears.
“Come From Away” is a musical unlike any other. Based on a heart wrenching true story with a completely original score, I was blown away when I first saw it. I’ve always believed that this is a musical that people should see, and now that it is on a streaming service, I believe it is important for people to see this show. No matter your background, you can find a way to connect to this story. It can bring someone down to Earth and present a new perspective on people living in a confusing and emotional time. I also appreciate how this was told in an easy to understand and entertaining format, so that it is easier to draw people into the story. A lot of people may not want to read a long book, but an exciting musical will make the learning fun and easy. “Come From Away” is a show stopping and inspiring musical and if you can not see it up close in person, I highly recommend watching it on Apple TV+ to understand why this show matters.