Come From Away lifts spirits


Photo Credit: Kelly Branco

Because of it's diversity, Come From Away attracts viewers from many different countries. Many natives from Newfoundland can be found at the show to support their country.

By: Kelly Branco, Reporter and Book Nook Editor

Come From Away is a musical currently on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater. Irene Sankoff and David Hein wrote the book, music, and lyrics. It’s a musical about an event that happened during the September 11 attack. This musical was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won one award for Best Direction of a Musical.


Come From Away is a musical that tells the story of the town Gander in Newfoundland during the September 11 attacks. Because of these attacks, the United States closed their airspace and refused entry of any other planes to the country. Because of this, 38 planes diverted to the town of Gander in Newfoundland. The airport in Gander is one of the biggest airports in Northern America but it’s not used anymore.  Many of the citizens of Gander had to handle this sudden change and big influx of people. This musical lets us peek into the lives of the Gander citizens and the people on the plane. We see their feelings, their fears, and the happiness that they felt throughout the five days that the planes were in Gander.


Photo Credit: Kelly Branco
Caesar Samayoa plays Kevin J., Ali and many other characters. He taps into the life of a Muslim man after the September 11 attacks and the discrimination he felt. He also plays a gay man and shows the audience how it was different to be openly gay than now.

This musical is brilliant! The music was beautiful and heartbreaking. It varied in style and mood with each number. For example, the song “In the Bar/Heave Away” was an upbeat song where all the people of Gander and “plane people” were at a bar having a good time together. The pit came out and played on the stage with the actors and played one of Newfoundland’s instruments, the Ugly Stick. It made the audience almost dance in their seats. And then the music could change to sad and meaningful. For example, “Prayer” shows the different religions and how they all are coping in this time period, especially Muslims and the prejudice they feel with just following their religion. At this point, I cried because on the stage there was Catholic people praying alongside Jewish people and Muslim People. The music fused into such a beautiful melody.

The set design was beautiful as well. It was very minimalist with a couple of touches to make it feel like Newfoundland. There was a simple blue wood background that changed color when the settings changed. There were no elaborate sets, most of the sets were with chairs and tables. Every actor had their own chair and each chair was different. The actors moved the chairs around to indicate a change of setting, one minute they could be on a plane and the next they could be in town hall. I also like how when the show started a sound played like on a plane to indicate the passengers to buckle their seat belts.

The actors brought this musical to life. Each actor played two to three characters and to indicate they switched characters they would

Photo Credit: Kelly Branco
Astrid Van Wieren plays Beulah and others and lets the audience see how the Gander citizens are handling their change,

switch accents and an item of clothing, whether it be a a jacket or a hat. With every switch of a character the actors seemed like a new person and it was hard to think that they played someone else before. I know how hard it is to nail an accent perfectly, the fact that some actors talked in three different accents was astonishing. I met some of the actors after the show and they were nothing short of wonderful. They were all so nice and heartfelt.

Final Thoughts

This musical gives you hope. Even in the world we live in, there are good people doing good things. Most of the American characters in the musical became confused as to why the people from Gander acted so nice to them. The Gander citizens were just doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. This musical is probably one of the best I’ve seen. If you have the opportunity to see it, please do! You won’t regret it.