Photo by Matthew Murphy)
“Come From Away,” a 2015 musical, looks at just one of the repercussions of that day.
U.S. and Canadian airspace was immediately closed, forcing 38 transatlantic passenger planes to land at Gander International Airport in Gander, Newfoundland. Thus Gander’s fewer than 10,000 residents suddenly had to serve the needs of about 7,000 flyers for up to six days
With a book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the musical focuses on 12 townspeople and 12 passengers – all portrayed by the cast of six women and six men -- who must adapt to the situation.
It opens with the townspeople starting an ordinary day as the news begins to trickle in. Soon they learn that the planes and their passengers are coming.
They immediately muster all available resources and welcome the visitors to their island community.
Despite their initial wariness and the uncertainty, the hosts and visitors warm to one another. By the time the planes are again allowed to fly, friendships and a romance have blossomed, but another relationship has ended under the strain.
Moreover, the townspeople enjoy improved relationships thanks to their interaction with people of various nationalities, races and religions.
Although the residents refused any payment for their hospitality, the passengers donated thousands of dollars to the community.
The residents and passengers even had a 10-year reunion. As the mayor (Kevin Carolan) put it: “Tonight we honor what was lost, but we also commemorate what we found.”
Directed by Christopher Ashley, the multi-talented cast of this national touring company presented by Broadway San Jose creates believable characters based on actual people.
The result is a heartwarming, uplifting salute to humanity with some added humor and sadness, especially for Hannah (Danielle K. Thomas), whose firefighter son died at the World Trade Center.
Because the show is distilled into some 90 minutes without intermission, much of the information is delivered so quickly that it’s difficult to absorb everything.
However, the essential spirit comes through, leaving the audience cheering and clapping as the seven-member band, including music director/conductor Cameron Moncur, plays a rousing tune after the cast’s final bows.
As a touring production, the show opened July 12 and will run only through July 17 at San Jose’s Center for the Performing Arts, 255 S. Almaden Blvd. For tickets and information, call (408) 792-4111 or visit www.broadwaysanjose.com.