Review of Come from Away at The Fox

    The brilliant musical, Come from Away, has returned to the Fox Theatre. I wrote a rave review of the show’s first visit to the Fox, and what I said four-and-a-half years ago describes the current production just as well the previous one. The text of that video review is below.

    The opening number of the wonderful new musical, Come from Away, tells us almost everything we need to know about the inhabitants of Gander, Newfoundland. The contagious energy of the Celtic-style music leaves no doubt that these people have enormous reserves of strength and optimism.

    These qualities are tested on stage by the events of the day on which the musical begins: September 11, 2001. After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, U.S. airspace was shut down. Thirty-eight planes from Europe were diverted to Gander. Its population of about 10,000 was suddenly increased by two thirds by people who, in the local idiom, had “come from away.” Nearly 66 hundred passengers and crewmembers had to be housed and fed until American airspace reopened, and no one knew when that would be.

    The show is based on interviews conducted at a reunion ten years after [the diversion of the planes]. The stories in the show have the ring of truth because they have taken from life. In some cases, the creative team combined characters so more stories could be told. Several composite characters have a first name from one real person and a last name from another.

    Canadian husband and wife team Irene Sankoff and David Hein worked together on all three elements of the show: book, music, and lyrics. The completeness of collaboration may be why the story advances with such remarkable swiftness, unity and power. The characters shift seamlessly from addressing the audience to addressing one another to choreographed ensembles, all under the direction of Christopher Ashley, the musical staging by Kelly Devine and the music supervision of Ian Eisendrath. The dramatic clarity and emotional impact of the narrative never have a chance to flag.

    An extraordinary cast of 12 plays all the roles, making them all distinct enough to be instantly recognizable when they return to the spotlight. The cast is greatly helped the flexibility in Beowulf Boritt’s scenic design, Toni-Jeslie James’s costumes, Howell Binkley’s lighting, and Gareth Owen’s sound.

    Come from Away is a great story, superbly told.

    —First published on Two on the Aisle’s YouTube page on May 23, 2019.

    The cast of the 2023 touring company, in order of appearance, includes:

    • Kathleen Cameron as Bonnie and others
    • Danny Arnold as Oz and others
    • Addison Garner as Beverley, Annette, and others
    • Hannah Kato as Janice and others
    • Jason Tyler Smith as Bob and others
    • Andrew Hendrick as Claude and others
    • Shawn W. Smith as Kevin T., Garth, and others
    • Stanton Morales as Nick, Doug, and others
    • Trey DeLuna as Kevin J., Ali, and others
    • Candace Alyssa Rhodes as Hannah and others
    • Kristin Litzenberg as Beulah and others
    • Molly Samson as Diane and others

    The excellent band was conducted by music director Harry Collins. The direction was restaged by Daniel Goldstein. The musical staging was restaged By Richard J. Hinds.

    Click here to watch Two on the Aisle’s 2019 video review of Come from Away, including Bob’s comments, on YouTube. You will see video and photographs from the earlier national tour.

    The current national tour of Come from Away continues through November 5 at the Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard.

    —Gerry Kowarsky

    Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade
    2023 Touring Cast of
    Come from Away.