‘COME FROM AWAY’ RETURNS TO THE BAY AREA WITH CHEERS AND A STANDING OVATION
THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE OF GANDER IS AN UPLIFTING STORY THAT SHINES BRIGHT ON DARK TIMES
Review by Vince Mediaa
The topic of 9/11 is not an easy story to bring to the musical stage. COME FROM AWAY celebrates humanity acts of kindness, this is the best time for this kind of musical. In the dark shadows of a tragedy COME FROM AWAY tells a hopeful, real story about the small Canadian town that hosted 38 jets and plans in the aftermath of 9/11. This musical is now on stage at the Golden Gate stage only through April 00. This true story is that rare gem that steals your heart with a spellbinding ensemble cast, one that allows every member of its dozen strong cast a chance to shine. Book, music and lyrics developed by Tony and Grammy nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein. The Musical is directed by Tony winner Christopher Ashley (who was in NY during the 9/11 attacks). The 100 minute performance is staged by two-time Tony nominee Kelly Devine with music supervision by Grammy nominee Ian Eisendrath. Director Christopher Ashley’s terrific, Tony Award honored direction is on a sparse set of tall trees and furniture that doubles for plane interior, a diner and town hall.
COME FROM AWAY tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and gratitude grew into enduring unforgettable friendships. The show opens with one of the many anthem songs “Welcome to the Rock” and the company goes on to explain their new visitors in the number “38 Planes”. This 12 member company is a power house on stage and will bring you to cheers and tears in a score by Sankoff and Hein. “Blankets and Bedding” brings home the topic of a community who stopped everything to care for these new friends stranded in their town. The dozen cast members play multiple roles, often tearing off sport coats, hats and vests mid-scene to change from a local TV reporter or town cop to a stressed confused passenger and back again. It’s difficult to pick a standout as they all operate at such a consistently high level throughout. Marika Aubrey as Beverley is inspiring in the emotional song “Me and the Sky” that tells of her dreams to be an airline pilot. The 12 actors fill the stage full of the rich and complex sound of the 7000 people who doubled this town’s population in the shadow of 9/11.
Ganderites are selfless, take charge and are generous like Beulah played by Julie Johnson who is flawless. The real, never say no Gander mayor Claude played by the dapper Kevin Carolan holds the story together as the narrator. The animal lover Bonnie who made sure all the traveling pets were cared for is played by the superb Kristen Peace. The animals included a rare and pregnant monkey. They all respond how most caring people should respond to others in a time of crisis. The music is unforgettable as is the enthusiastic force in this story conducted by Cameron Moncur who is one of the on stage with his keyboard.. The wonderful musicians play folk instruments like the Irish flute, fiddle, and bodhran are nestled in the corners of the stage. The score, which draws on Newfoundland’s music traditions, is festive and brings the audience to their feet. It did remind me of the open heart of ONCE the musical, but its essence is timeless as the generosity of this true story fills your heart.
COME FROM AWAY has a heart that brings tears to anyone who sees this musical. This is an extremely strong, deeply powerful, true story about real inspirational people. The fact that it’s true only makes this a MUST SEE. The opening night audience and crowds stand before the cast comes out for their bows as the band comes downstage and the audience dances in their seats. It is important to see COME FROM AWAY, it is a moving theatrical experience. Apple TV is now streaming the full musical - but it's best you experience this history live on stage and BroadwaySF is offering $40.00 rush seats through TodayTix.com day of show.
Come from Away
Book and Lyrics by
Music Staging Kelly Devine, Conductor Cameron Moncur
MUST CLOSE APRIL 23rd
ONE HOUR 40 MIN
GOLDEN GATE THEATRE
1 Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
photos by MATTHEW MURPHY
APPLE TV Performance