UPDATE: I went to see Come From Away last night, and I have one word — GO.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s preview, the musical was inspired by 9/11 — specifically, the warm welcome given by residents of Gander, Newfoundland to the passengers of 38 planes forced to land there the day of the attacks.
It’s funny, moving, ingeniously staged (director Christopher Ashley works wonders with rows of chairs) and acted (the cast plays both the stranded passengers and the residents of Gander, so you’ll swear there are more than 12 people up there), and the music (played by a wildly eclectic 8-piece including a bodhran, a bouzouki and Irish flute) is joyous. It captures the moments directly before and directly after the world changed on 9/11, both the good stuff (the generous spirit of the residents, the connections made among the passengers) and the bad (the rumblings of paranoia, the erosion of a sense of security). Wonderfully, the co-writers Irene Sankoff and David Hein constructed the musical from interviews, so if you find yourself asking questions like “Did those two ‘plane people’ actually get married?” or “Was one of the passengers really the mother of a NYC fireman?” or “Were the Gander bus drivers really on strike (until they weren’t)?” or… “Monkeys?????” — the answer is yes.
Straz Center, Tampa, 6/5-6, 7:30 p.m.; 6/7, 8 p.m.; 6/8, 2 & 8 p.m.; 6/9, 2 & 7:30 p.m., 813-229-STAR, strazcenter.org.