By Chris Heide
In a dark, divisive time in our nation, Come From Away is the perfect show to remind us all of the humanity within.
2018 is something of a breaking point for American society. More than ever, American citizens are torn politically, as issues of racism, sexual harassment, homophobia and xenophobia permeate the national consciousness. It is a time of great anxiety and alienation. Come From Away is a powerful reminder of what can happen when the commonalities of humanity can be embraced and celebrated.
Come From Away is a Tony Award winning musical. It actually originated as a new production in Seattle, and has now returned to the 5th Avenue Theatre as part of a national tour. .
The plot is simple. In the immediate aftermath of September 11th, 7,000 passengers are stranded in a small town in Newfoundland, as all air traffic had be halted in response to the devastating terrorist attacks. The show depicts how that initial culture of fear, distrust and unease transforms into a soaring musical celebrating truth, commonality and gratitude. The true power of what can happen as individual come together in the aftermath of chaotic, heart wrenching tragedy.
The show itself is well paced. It comes in under a brisk 1 hour and 40 minutes, without an intermission; hardly your typical Broadway affair. There are no set changes and scenes flow into each other without obvious notice. The book is reminiscent of Rent; a show where the majority of the dialogue is sung and the songs seamlessly transition with unstoppable flow.
Come From Away is a show without a clear lead. While this is unusual, it is an element that makes the show diverse and unique. Each of the characters are strong, each performance is well executed, and each emotional moment resonates with equal weight.
According to Bill Berry, Producing Artistic Director, and Bernadine Griffin, Managing Director, Come From Away was a necessary story to tell.
“Come From Away completely transports you- you’re absorbed simultaneously in the incredible story onstage and your own memories of one of the most important days in recent history. Come From Away embodies everything that we believe musical theater can be; healing and transformative with the power to move and restore you,” they said.
Come From Away is brilliant, beautiful, emotional, and simply one of the best productions to ever hit the stage of the 5th Avenue Theatre. It is so good, you will undoubtedly cry.