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“Come From Away” Worth the Hype

Canadian Production makes Calgary debut

Theatre Review by Jason Clevett (From March 2019 Online)
The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY
The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY
Image by: Matthew Murphy
Nick Duckart, Kevin Carolan, Andrew Samonsky and Company
Nick Duckart, Kevin Carolan, Andrew Samonsky and Company
Image by: Matthew Murphy
The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY
The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY
Image by: Matthew Murphy
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At first glance, the concept behind Come From Away seems to be an odd one. A musical about Gander, Newfoundland hosting 7000 stranded passengers in the wake of 9-11? Yet since being workshopped at Sheraton College in Oakville just 7 years ago, the show somehow became a massive success in San Diego, Seattle, Washington DC and Toronto before opening up on Broadway in March of 2017. The longest running Canadian play in Broadway history has finally reached its home country with a Canadian tour that runs in Calgary at the Jubilee Auditorium until March 24th.

At first the assortment of characters that we meet are somewhat stereotyped. Local Newfoundlanders like the mayor, police chief and school teacher who all know each other by name at the local Tim Hortons. Airplane passengers like the token black guy, the gay couple, the Texan air captain. Over the course of 100 minutes they become fleshed out real humans with incredible stories – all true as the show is based on the actual people in Gandar over those 5 days.

The heart of the show lies in the incredibly talented cast, which effortlessly switches characters with simple accent changes and small costume changes and you identify with the people on stage. The songs in the show are catchy and get stuck in your head (I’ve been humming the opening number since I walked out the door) and the simple but effective set design creates a full experience for the audience.

Those unaware of exactly what Come From Away was about had a pleasant surprise. The hype – which lead to a sold-out Calgary run - is deserved. Our current climate of anger and racism and every other dark aspect of 2019 makes it easy to forget that there are good people. Those who are quick to offer their hands, homes and hearts to those stranded, and those trying to make the best of a difficult situation. Come From Away has laughs, tears, and a connection to the power of the human spirit. If you missed it this round, hopefully like other popular shows, it will loop back around to Calgary soon. It’s one of the best new musicals in recent decades, and hopefully will continue to share a bit of Canadian culture from the rock for many years to come.


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Contributor Jason Clevett |


Locale Calgary |


Topic Theatre |


(GC)

The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY
Image by: Matthew Murphy
The First North American Tour Cast of COME FROM AWAY
Image by: Matthew Murphy

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