By: Isa Goldberg
So this guy goes shopping and the check out lady says, “Thank you for shopping at Walmart. Would you like to use my house for a shower?” Mind you, this comes as no surprise. The guy says yes, and the checkout lady finishes her shift and brings this complete stranger into her home.
In, Come From Away, the new Broadway musical, the apocryphal events we see, took place on one day in 2001, when 7,000 people arrived by plane in an emergency landing in Gander Newfoundland, nearly doubling the native population. The date was 9/11.
As reported, Come from Away, appears to be the season’s sleeper. Not exactly the hottest ticket from the get-go, this little musical with a handful of actor/singers, in everyday clothes (costumes by Toni-Leslie James) is staged on a bare bones, albeit multifunctional set (Beowulf Boritt). Still, it seems to have all of the production values New York audiences want to embrace.
While tragic events were taking place in other parts of the world, these everyday denizens demonstrated the humanity to embrace the stranded, frightened plane-wrecked passengers, who landed on their doorstep. In fact, their actions reflect a notion of populism that is unlike the current wave. Neither aggressive toward the other nor protective of themselves, they demonstrated virtue beyond all else.
In 90-minutes, without an intermission, we get to know the passengers and Newfoundlanders. Among them, Jenn Colella plays American Airline’s first woman captain, and Chad Kimball portrays both a local Newfoundlander and an illustrious passenger. In fact, all of the actors play a multitude of roles – just as most people, in most communities also do.
Kelly Devine brings an easy buoyant charm to the choreography, and Christopher Ashley’s direction leaves this humble tale in the hands of an earnest ensemble. But what is most refreshing is Irene Sankoff ‘s and David Hein’s book, music, and lyrics, which reveal grace in simplicity, and good faith in humankind.
Come From Away ***
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
236 West 45th Street
For Tickets Click Here
Photo: Mathew Murphy