Last Friday, I headed into the city with some friends and co-workers to see Come From Away on Broadway.
Overall I liked the show. Usually the structure and style of this type of musical is not my thing (I’m all for the big spectacle shows) but Come From Away was an exception to that rule. It helped that it was based on a true story, which always peaks my interest because I like to read about the facts vs. fiction of the show. I wouldn’t say that I loved it as much as it was talked up, nor will it be a forever favorite, but it was engaging and entertaining the whole time. The cast and musicians had a clear camaraderie between them, something I now look for after feeling the distinct lack of it in Moulin Rouge.
I was also really interested in the story because, despite being old enough to know about these events, it was based on something I had never heard of. For those who don’t know, the show is based on real events that happened on 9/11 and just after. Thirty-eight airplanes were diverted to an island on Newfoundland when the US airways (airwaves??) shut down. The town of Gander and its surrounding communities took in 7000 passengers and took care of them for days, providing food, shelter and comfort.
The show goes back and forth between the stories of the passengers (although the cast remains the same, with the actors switching roles frequently), who literally had no idea what was going on for over a day and a half, and the townspeople who had to figure out where to put all these new people whose numbers nearly equaled their total town population. This is done seamlessly, perhaps purposefully, to show that, in the end, everyone is a human being going through the same tragedy and no one is considered on the outside.
Despite everyone’s terror and uncertainty, the story ultimately is about how people pull together in the face of tragedy, and I appreciated it for that.
I was twenty on 9/11, and despite being glued to the news, I had never heard about this happening before, so it was an interesting story. (I did know the plot of the show beforehand, as my mom saw the show a while ago but it wasn’t until I saw it myself that I got inspired to look up the true story myself).
The other day, I saw someone post their yearly Broadway show count, and realized I’ve never done this! I honestly have no idea how many shows I see a year! I feel very lucky and grateful to be able to say that as one of my favorite things in the whole world is live theater.
(However, for the record, the 2020 show count so far is 4 – 5 if you count Frozen, Jr., 7 if you count all three performances of it!)