A musical about 9/11? Yes! This daring, funny, and poignant musical, “Come From Away,” filmed on a live theatrical stage in New York City portrays the townspeople in Gander, Newfoundland and the 7000 passengers, more than two dozen plans diverted to a small nearby airport on that fateful day 20 years ago.
The town is represented by a small ensemble cast who take on multiple roles to give us a story about these welcoming, kind-hearted individuals who opened their arms and their homes to strangers from around the world during an unnerving and uncertain time. Most of us never considered the thousands of planes which were en route to various destinations during the attack of September 11th. This immediately raises questions about how long they were stranded, how were they cared for, and at what point did they understand the news? Of course, the musical brings up many other questions and concerns that many of the passengers had during this time, but most importantly, it punctuates the kindness of others during a time of need.
“Come From Away” gives us characters that are oftentimes over-the-top, but always in a good way and always to make us laugh out loud. From the new broadcast journalist and the humane society volunteer to the mayor of the town and a local air traffic controller and several more, the characters are vividly portrayed as they sing songs about the town of Gander and how they all came together to house, feed, and entertain 7000 additional guests who were staying for an undetermined amount of time. As the actors take on numerous roles including a Muslim man, a gay couple, a mother of a NYC fire fighter, and more, you see this pivotal day from a new perspective. It’s a lens that truly opens your eyes to a new world.
The music is the driving undercurrent of the story; all of which you unexpectedly begin to sing along with the characters. The voices of the actors compliment the story, but it is Jenn Colella’s vocal prowess that stands out among them all. Taking on a range of characters, her vocal range is just as great. The strength as she sings about loss or love reverberates within your body, reminding us of the tragic events as well as how each and every individual was somehow effected by the attacks of 9/11.
3 ½ Stars
You can stream this captivatingly entertaining musical beginning September 10th on Apple TV+