The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre is located on West 45th Street in Manhattan and was built by the Shubert brothers in 1917-1918 before being named a New York landmark in 1987. The theatre has been home to a number of significant productions but Come From Away is certainly one of the most critically successful and beloved by audiences. The wooden set was created by Beowulf Boritt and is deceptively simple, featuring an onstage folk band, wooden furniture, and tall trees to evoke the spirit of Newfoundland. The stage was designed with a turntable, meaning that it’s adaptable and can be easily changed between scenes. A rustic, warm atmosphere is conveyed to audiences through Boritt’s use of materials and colors inspired by the natural world.
The story begins on the morning of September 11th, 2011, when the audience learns what life is like in Gander before the characters find out about the terrorist attacks that took place in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. Because US airspace has been closed, 38 planes have been diverted and land at Gander airport, adding almost 7000 passengers to their small town. The musical follows the stories of pilots, flight attendants, passengers, and the residents of Gander as they deal with what is happening to them and what may have happened to their loved ones as they form new relationships with each other.
There is no better show to see if you want to feel a little extra confidence in the goodness of the world around you. Come From Away is not a high-stakes show as the atrocity takes place offstage and the audience sees only the aftermath: the grief, the shock, and the way that people rally together after a painful disaster in an effort to create something good from something terrible. Highlights include Me and the Sky, sung by pilot Beverley Bass, an empowering song that sees Bass detailing the sexism she has defeated thus far in her career, and the opening number Welcome To The Rock, but audience members will find themselves overjoyed by the warmth and love evident throughout the entirety of this show.