Everything you need to know about 'Come From Away' on Broadway
Learn the true story behind one of Broadway's most heartwarming musicals, and the show's successes in its acclaimed Broadway run.
Welcome to the Rock! The Rock — that is, the island of Newfoundland in Canada — has come to New York with Come From Away. The musical tells a true story that has become something of a legend: how, on 9/11, the residents of the small town Gander welcomed thousands of airplane passengers into their town on a moment's notice, building lasting connections with them in the week that they stayed there. Come From Away has itself become a symbol of generosity and connection, and the show is known for offering one of the most heartwarming evenings available at a Broadway theatre.
The musical has been on Broadway since 2017 and is still going strong. So consider this guide your initiation to Newfoundland (short of its actual initiation ceremony; more on that below) before seeing Come From Away. We've got all you need to know about the show's creation, real-life inspirations, music, and more.
What is Come From Away about?
Come From Away is based on a true story of selflessness and compassion after the 9/11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center. The show opens in the small Canadian town of Gander, Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001. The town contains an airport that was once a major transatlantic refueling stop, but no longer gets much air traffic — until 38 planes are rerouted there when the American airspace closes. In the week after 9/11, the town's population doubled as its residents banded together to house, clothe, and feed nearly 7,000 plane passengers from all over the world.
Each member of the cast plays multiple characters — at least one Gander resident and one plane passenger each. Each character is either a direct representation of a real person or a composite of several real people, and Come From Away focuses on a select few people's stories. Among the characters are the first-ever female captain of an American Airlines plane, the mayor of Gander, multiple schoolteachers, a couple both named Kevin, and a couple who meets on their displaced flight and bonds during their time in Gander.
When did Come From Away premiere?
Come From Away was first produced at Ontario's Sheridan College in 2013. The first professional production took place in La Jolla, California, in 2015, and the show played in Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Toronto before its Broadway bow. Come From Away began Broadway performances on February 18, 2017 ahead of a March 12 opening.
- 2011: Irene Sankoff and David Hein began conducting interviews for Come From Away
- 2013: First-ever full-length performance of Come From Away was staged at Sheridan College in Ontario
- 2015-2016: Come From Away played pre-Broadway runs in San Diego, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Gander, and Toronto
- 2017: Come From Away opens on Broadway
- 2018: First tour of Come From Away kicks off
- 2021: Filmed performance of Come From Away is released for streaming, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of 9/11
Who wrote Come From Away?
Husband-and-wife duo David Hein and Irene Sankoff wrote the book, music, and lyrics for Come From Away. After producers conceived the idea for the show and tapped Sankoff and Hein to write it, the two traveled to Newfoundland, interviewing the residents and plane passengers to get the material.
What theatre in New York is Come From Away playing at?
Come From Away is at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The theatre is located at 236 W 45th St., between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. The street is home to multiple Broadway venues, including the Imperial Theatre, Golden Theatre, and Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
What is the running time of Come From Away?
Come From Away is 1 hour and 40 minutes long with no intermission. Come From Away is on the shorter end of Broadway musicals, as most tend to run between 2 and 3 hours with an intermission.
What days is Come From Away playing?
Come From Away plays eight performances a week at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with performances generally scheduled every day except Monday. For the complete performance schedule and show times, please visit the Come From Away page to learn more.
Who is in the cast of Come From Away?
The current cast of Come From Away includes Rachel Tucker as Capt. Beverley Bass and others, Petrina Bromley as Bonnie Harris and others, De'Lon Grant as Bob and others, Joel Hatch as Claude and others, Caesar Samayoa as Kevin Jung and others, James Seol as Kevin Tuerff and others, Q. Smith as Hannah O'Rourke and others, Astrid Van Wieren as Beulah Davis and others, Emily Walton as Janice Mosher and others, Jim Walton as Nick Marson and others, Sharon Wheatley as Diane Gray and others, and Paul Whitty as Oz Fudge and others.
Many of the current cast have been with the show since its first pre-Broadway run in 2015 and have played their roles continually since then: Bromley, Hatch, Samayoa, Smith, Wheatley, and Van Wieren.
In addition to those members, the original Broadway cast featured Jenn Colella as Beverley, Rodney Hicks as Bob, Kendra Kassebaum as Janice, Geno Carr as Oz Fudge, and Lee MacDougall as Nick.
Who are the characters in Come From Away?
The characters in Come From Away are all based on the real Gander residents that lived in the town during 9/11 and plane passengers who were diverted there and befriended the residents. Some characters are direct representations of one specific person, while others are composite characters, who combine the names and characteristics of a few different people that lived through the situation. Together, the Come From Away ensemble plays dozens of characters, and each actor plays more than one. Here are just some of the characters featured in Come From Away:
- Claude: The mayor of Gander.
- Capt. Beverley Bass: The pilot of one of the flights diverted to Gander, and the first-ever female captain of an American Airlines flight.
- Diane Gray: A divorced woman from Texas who strikes up a relationship with Nick Marson, another passenger on her flight, while in Gander.
- Nick Marson: A single British businessman who meets and falls for Diane during their time in Gander.
- Annette: A schoolteacher in Gander.
- Beulah Davis: A schoolteacher in Gander who bonds with and provides support to Hannah, a plane passenger who is waiting to hear from her son in New York. Beulah's character is a composite of multiple teachers in Gander.
- Hannah O'Rourke: A woman from New York who is awaiting news of her son, who is a firefighter, in the wake of 9/11. She bonds with Beulah because both their sons are firefighters.
- Kevin and Kevin: A gay couple from California who encounter troubles in their relationship while in Gander.
- Janice Mosher: A reporter in Gander whose first day on the job ends up being the day of the attacks. Her character is a composite of two reporters working in Gander at the time.
- Bonnie: An SPCA worker who cares for the animals on board the planes.
What are the songs in Come From Away?
Below are all the songs featured in Come From Away. Many are scenes unto themselves, and nearly all of them are sung by most or all of the company. "Me and the Sky," which details Capt. Beverley Bass's career as a trailblazing female pilot when there were few, is perhaps the show's most famous song, along with the opening number. The final song, "Screech Out," is an instrumental outro performed by the Come From Away onstage orchestra after the curtain call.
- "Welcome to the Rock" - Claude, Company
- "38 Planes" - Company
- "Blankets and Bedding" - Company
- "28 Hours / Wherever We Are" - Company
- "Darkness and Trees" - Company
- "On the Bus" - Company
- "Darkness and Trees (Reprise)"â€ - Company
- "Lead Us Out of the Night" - Company
- "Phoning Home" - Company
- "Costume Party" - Diane, Kevin T, Beverley, Hannah, Kevin J, Nick, Bob
- "I Am Here" - Hannah
- "Prayer" - Kevin T, Company
- "On the Edge" - Company
- "In the Bar/Heave Away" - Company
- "Screech In" - Claude, Company
- "Me and the Sky" - Beverley, Female Ensemble
- "The Dover Fault" - Nick, Diane
- "Stop the World" - Nick, Diane, Company
- "38 Planes (Reprise) / Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere" - Beverley, Company
- "Something's Missing" - Company
- "Finale" - Claude, Company
- "Screech Out" - Band
What did the reviews of Come From Away say?
The four-star review of Come From Away on New York Theatre Guide praised the actors' performances: "Not only are they skilled actors with voices that rock, THEY LOOK LIKE US. These are not stereotypes. There is not a beauty queen, swarthy leading man, or crotchety elder among them. Perhaps that is because this is a true story - or perhaps it is because somebody cared. This is, after all, the story of what happened to us all on 9/11. No one who sees this show was untouched by that day. And no one will leave untouched by this show. The spirit that is on that stage sweeps past the footlights and scoops everyone in the audience up into its arms."
The review goes on to read, "The cast is beautifully directed and choreographed. Each actor plays more than one part, and their characterizations are so defined that we never, not for an instant, are lost in the transitions. This is an ensemble that is a living breathing solar system that breaks up into planets with their own moons, then swoops back together in an evolving configuration. They are a marvel to watch."
The musical received similar acclaim from many other outlets. The Time Out New York review reads, "Come from Away makes a persuasive case for the value of good intentions. For this kind of uplift you don't need planes."
What awards has Come From Away won?
Come From Away director Christopher Ashley received a Best Direction Tony Award; the show was nominated for six other Tonys at the 2017 ceremony, including Best Musical. The musical also won three Drama Desk Awards out of nine nominations: Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, and Outstanding Featured Actress for Jenn Colella (who was also Tony-nominated for her performance). Come From Away also won five Outer Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding Broadway Musical, and the cast album was nominated for a Grammy Award.
When Come From Away opened in London's West End, the show won four Olivier Awards: Best New Musical, Outstanding Achievement in Music, Best Sound Design, and Best Theatre Choreographer.
Is there a Come From Away movie?
Yes — a live stage performance of Come From Away was filmed at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in summer 2021. The taping was released as a film on Apple TV+ on September 10, 2021, the day before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The recording features most of the original Broadway cast of Come From Away.
As of 2019, a film adaptation, planned to be shot in Gander, was also in the works. Christopher Ashley, who helmed the Broadway production, is set to direct.
Fun facts about Come From Away
Did you know that Gander has a mascot and that the "Newfoundlander initiation" ritual in the show is a real ceremony? Here are some fun facts about Come From Away.
- The musical takes its title from the phrase "come from aways," which is the nickname Newfoundlanders give to non-locals.
- The song "Screech In" is named after, and depicts, an "initiation" ceremony that non-Newfoundlanders undergo to become "honorary Newfoundlanders." It's a real ritual: The participants drink a shot of Newfoundland Screech rum, recite a standard response to the question "Are you a Newfoundlander?," and kiss a fresh or frozen codfish on the lips. New Come From Away cast members traditionally undergo the "screech-in" at the end of their first performance in the show.
- Gander has an unofficial mascot, a duck named Commander Gander, who is the subject of the children's book Commander Gander Goes to Come from Away.
- Many of the characters' real-life counterparts are friends with the actors that play them, largely because they're frequent audience members at Come From Away. The real-life Beverley Bass, for one, has famously seen the musical more than 100 times! Read about the Come From Away casts' relationships with their real-life counterparts.
- Fittingly for a show about uniting the world, Come From Away has gone on to launch many international productions in countries like the U.K., Australia, Argentina, China, Sweden, The Netherlands, and, of course, Canada.
How do I get tickets for Come From Away on Broadway?
Though Come From Away centers on a dark and difficult day in history, the musical is anything but dismal. Come From Away celebrates the best of human generosity, kindness, and compassion. While being respectful of how hard the attacks were on everyone involved, the musical focuses on the good that came from it: the new friendships, romances, and connections that were born from people reaching out a supportive hand. If you're looking for a feel-good show, then travel as far as you need to get to the Schoenfeld — you don't want to miss Come From Away.
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