There are some shows that I yearn for and others that I shudder at. And then there are others that sound like a perfectly nice but not impactful evening at the theater. Years ago that is how I was blown away by Having Our Say, that turned out to be exceptional. This year that title belongs to Come From Away.
Based on the 9/11/01 clearing of all air traffic in reaction to the attack, it tells the story of little Gander, Newfoundland which happened to have a huge airfield little used since jets eliminated the need for propeller plans to refuel just before flying across the Atlantic. So when planes were quickly grounded, this was the perfect place to hold 7,000 passengers in a town of just 9,000. How cute, I thought. We’ll get to see hospitable Canadians care for these visitors and it will be sweet. How nice.
Come From Away is so much more than that, packing an emotional punch that was quite unexpected. First, I was stunned by how visceral the 9/11 punch was in the short references in the play. Even as a New Yorker, I thought I had that under control. Nope, not so much.
But then seeing a cast of twelve essentially playing 16,000 different roles (OK not quite) was absolutely amazing. This show has had multiple out of town tryouts and the polish shows. Seamlessly weaving these tales and characters from the town and from away the cast, director, band and especially the choreographer do a great job.
I’m considering moving to Canada now that I have seen this, but not quite as remote a place as Gander. Go see this show!