Tony Award-winning musical ‘Come From Away’ teaches us the power of compassion in uncomfortable spaces

By Cameron Lee

February 28, 2023

Photo: Matthew Murphy

Following the dreadful September 11 attacks on U.S. soil in 2001, there were countless stories of heroic acts by servicemen and citizens dealing with the tragic events. But nearly 1,500 miles from New York City where the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center, 38 planes carrying nearly 7,000 passengers landed in the small town of Gander in Newfoundland after U.S. airspace closed. The unexpected influx of people more than doubled the population of the tiny town of Gander. This is the premise of the Tony Award-winning musical, Come From Away, a heartwarming and stirring story of how citizens in the Canadian province volunteered to house, feed, and entertain stranded international travelers in a time of distressing uncertainty. Having played in multiple continents since its Broadway debut, it’s no surprise that the universal story of culture clashes, love, loss, fear, and companionship has resonated with so many people.

The story was originally conceived by Michael Rubinoff, a Toronto lawyer and theater producer who tapped Canadian husband-and-wife librettists and composers Irene Sankoff and David Hein to write the book and musical. The first production took place at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in June 2015 in collaboration with the Seattle Repertory Theatre. Directed by Christopher Ashley (Dianna, Memphis, Xanadu), who ended up winning a Tony Award for the production (Best Direction of a Musical), the musical broke box office records in its second run of shows at the Seattle Repertory Theatre that year. When it hit Toronto’s historic Royal Alexandra Theatre the following year, the production sold-out from November 2016 to January 2017 by its second full week. 

Photo: Matthew Murphy

Making its Broadway debut on March 12, 2017 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, the musical was named a Critic’s Pick by the New York Times and was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 2017, winning one for Best Direction of a Musical. The production also scored big in 2019 with three Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. Lauded as “a singing reminder that when things are at their worst, people can be at their best” by Newsweek, Come From Away, reminds us of the power of compassion, and how it can lead to unbreakable bonds in the most unexpected places and situations. 

The award-winning musical, Come From Away, will play in Charlotte at Belk Theater from March 7-12


Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 10 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 12 at 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m.

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