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Jeff Brooker

16th October 2017

Musical Project

Come from Away

Come from Away is a musical created by the husband-wife combo Irene Sankoff and David Hein.

Together they wrote the book music and lyrics together. The Broadway production was directed by

Christopher Ashley and produced by Junkyard Dog Productions. It was workshopped in Oakville, San

Diego, Seattle, Washington DC and Toronto. It opened after all of this on Broadway in March of 2017.

The reviews from critics alike were all a positive nature. They all seemed to enjoy the elements of

happiness, sadness, excitement and nervousness told through the stories based musical. The show

received 7 tony nominations and won the one for best direction of a musical. The show has also become

one of 3 musicals in the 2016-2016 season to recoup its investment which proves that ticket sales have

been very good. The show is still running on Broadway.

This musical is based on the true story experience that happened on the five days following 9/11 in

Canada. Planes on their way to the USA were all diverted to other airports as the USA was declared a

no-fly zone. 39 planes arrive in the small town of Gander in Canada. This town had a population of 9

000 people and received a further 7 000 people. The town took these people into their town with open

arms. The story is shown from the perspective of both the people who opened their homes and people

who were welcomed into people’s homes. There were people from all over the world and they bonded

as one unit. They had so much fun together that the locals felt empty once the people left the town. The

end of the musical shows all the people reuniting on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in the town and
celebrating once more. This show is also special as it has no leads or extremely important character.

Each actor plays many characters and at least one local and foreigner. Sometimes actors will play more

than one character in a scene. This is also very challenging on that actors as the characters are all very

different as they are all characters from around the world and have their own very specific backstory and

characteristics. This show also demand that every character gets it moment and is always fully


The staging for this is extremely simplistic and has no typical frills. The set makes use of only a blue

wood cyclorama and tables and chairs. The original concept used only 12 chairs and 2 tables. Since

then the numbers have slightly increased but the concept is still the same. The reason for this is that the

director wanted the show to be truly focused on the story and the characters. He felt that by adding

elements as a typical Broadway musical usually does, the audience focuses on the Broadway experience

and not the beautiful story. The audience has to use their imagination for many of the scenarios, like

when they are on the plane or in cars, as all there is chairs and the actors miming steering wheels and

throttles. The advantage with this is that you can spend more time focusing on the actors and their

characters. The show takes place in many places throughout the town as well as on the plane, however

the only way you work this out is through the conversations as well as some of the props as there are no

set pieces to differentiate locations. The only special technical item this show has is a turntable floor

center. This means that the circular center of the stage is able to spin. This adds some “magic” to the

show in scenes like the flight as it adds movement but does not distract from the story. The show could

be done without the turntable but Broadway audiences demand some form of “magic” in every musical.

The show also takes place in an exact period therefore the costuming is precise to match that. The

modern clothing, language and love stories also help to make the show even more relatable to the

audience. The modern nature, yet extremely simplistic nature of this makes it the work of beauty it is.
This show is a show that is meant to be shared in communities and schools around the country. It is a

show that speaks of love and community during a time of disparity and terror. 9/11 was a time of

uncertainty for most people around the world and the community of Gander didn’t care, all that mattered

to them was making people feel at home. This show is meant to be done by school. It is not available

for schools yet but when it is schools will be lining up to do it. The cast allows for changeable sizing to

fit any school’s size. The music is changeling to do but is approachable for high school students. The

orchestration is also one of an achievable high school nature. It makes use of keyboard, winds, 2 guitars

and 2 percussionists. The musical has different music styles from folk to rock and the rhythm of the

songs drive the musical forward. The content of musical is appropriate for any modern high school.

The base of all characters and stories is of love and caring which high school students need to learn.