One New Musical This Season 2017
“Come From Away”
Come from Away is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. It is set in the town of Gander, Newfoundland in the week following the September 11 attacks, when 38 planes had to unexpectedly land in the small town as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon.
The townspeople of Gander housed and fed the thousands of stranded passengers, who nearly doubled the population of the town. Many of the characters in the musical are based on, and share the names of, real Gander residents or stranded passengers.
Following successful runs at the La Jolla Playhouse and the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2015, the show played in 2016 at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC and the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. It will debut on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in March 2017.
Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto
The idea for the show was first conceived by Michael Rubinoff, a Toronto lawyer and theatre producer and associate dean of visual and performing arts at Sheridan College. After approaching various Canadian writing teams about the project, Rubinoff attracted Irene Sankoff and David Hein, whose work he knew from their 2009 musical, My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, which was a hit at the Toronto Fringe Festival and later picked up by Mirvish Productions.
In 2011, Sankoff and Hein visited Gander on the tenth anniversary of the attacks to interview locals and returning passengers. The couple translated some stories directly to the musical while others were merged for story purposes. Rubinoff used their initial script to produce a 45-minute workshop version for the Canadian Music Theatre Project, part of the Sheridan College Music Theatre Performance Program, in 2012. The workshop was sufficiently successful that Rubinoff invited Sankoff and Hein to finish writing it for a full production at Sheridan in 2013, as part of the college’s regular theatrical season. The full production, directed by Brian Hill, was an artistic success, but Rubinoff was unable to attract a Canadian producer for further development.
In the meantime, Goodspeed Musicals, East Haddam, Connecticut included the show in their workshop program. The National Alliance for Musical Theatre in New York selected it as a showcase presentation in fall 2013, where a performance, also directed by Brian Hill, led to the show being optioned by Junkyard Dog Productions, the production company behind Memphis and First Date.
The professional production was a collaboration by the La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2015. The play had extended runs in each location. The musical opened at the La Jolla Playhouse in June 2015, directed by Christopher Ashley and featuring Joel Hatch as the Mayor of Gander, Jenn Colella as Beverley, a pilot, and Chad Kimball as Kevin. In Seattle, it broke all box office records (including highest grossing show and largest single ticket sales day) at Seattle Repertory Theatre.
Following its runs in San Diego and Seattle, the show played out-of-town engagements at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC from September 2, 2016 to October 9, 2016 and then at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, Canada from November 15, 2016 to January 8, 2017. The entire run of the Toronto production sold out during its second week of performances. The show’s ticket sales set a record for the then 109-year-old Royal Alexandra Theatre, selling $1.7 million in tickets in a single week. The show could not be extended due to its Broadway commitment but, as a result of the strong demand, Mirvish Productions announced on December 2, 2016 that they were adding an additional 4 box seats and 12 standing-room locations for the duration of the show. An additional show was also added on the evening of December 18, 2016.
FIRST PREVIEW FEB 18, 2017
OPENING NIGHT MAR 12, 2017
PLAYING AT THE GERALD SCHOENFELD THEATRE NEW YORK NYC.
Petrina Bromley – Bonnie & others
Geno Carr – Oz & others
Jenn Colella – Beverly & others
Joel Hatch – Claude & others
Rodney Hicks – Bob & others
Kendra Kassebaum – Janice & others
Chad Kimball – Kevin 1 & others
Lee MacDougall – Nick & others
Caesar Samayoa – Kevin 2 & others
Q. Smith – Hannah & others
Astrid Van Wieren – Beulah & others
Sharon Wheatley – Diane & others
Understudies: Josh Breckenridge, Susan Dunstan, Tamika Lawrence and Tony LePage
Book by Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Music by Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Music arranged by Ian Eisendrath
Music orchestrated by August Eriksmoen
Directed by Christopher Ashley
Choreographed by Kelly Devine
Scenic Design by Beowulf Boritt
Costume Design by Toni-Leslie James
Lighting Design by Howell Binkley
Sound Design by Gareth Owen