A global success story, Come From Away opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 2017. Since then, its record-breaking triumph has continued with a second production in Toronto, followed by a third in North America. Excitingly, the recent West End production won four Olivier Awards after being nominated in nine categories.
This ground-breaking new musical is based on incredible real-life events occurring in the wake of the September 11 tragedy. In immediate response to the crisis, 38 planes carrying nearly 7,000 people from more than 100 countries were redirected to Gander, Newfoundland, almost doubling the population of the remote Canadian town.
Kelly Devine the award-winning choreographer of Come From Away, acknowledges that this musical is unlike any work she has ever experienced.
Come From Away is a special story—it is a true story, and has affected all of us and changed our lives.”
It is really about the response that this town had to what happened on that horrible day, on and after September 11, 2001,” Devine added.
The musical captures the generosity of spirit and unwavering hospitality towards the strangers who unwillingly arrived in Gander; the small town welcomed the visitors into their homes and reignited the hope that humanity lost that day.
I have found with this show, there is such a universal need for kindness and acceptance. Everyone deals with the outsider in one way or another—no matter where you live. These people opened their homes and their hearts effortlessly, and generously helped take care of these complete strangers in time of need. Whether it was clothes or food,” Devine explained.
Prior to opening the show on Broadway, the creative team of Come From Away travelled to Gander and performed two concerts to the community.
That literally changed all of us, it was overwhelming,” Devine admitted.
I still think it has not fully processed what that was like to go over there with our cast. The way that they welcomed us…when we got off the bus at, like, midnight, the Mayor of the town was standing at the door of the bus, greeting us while we walked into the hotel. And there was a buffet and drinks waiting for us!”
It is a beautiful country and we met some unbelievably wonderful people that we still stay in touch with…it has turned into a family,” said Devine.
Come From Away was nominated for nine Olivier awards and won four of them, including Best New Musical; Best Theatre Choreographer – Kelly Devine; Best Sound Design – Gareth Owen; and Outstanding Achievement in Music.
Winning the Olivier was an out-of-body experience and was quite a surprise! Everyone from our team was there and so it was really extraordinary to be altogether in London to celebrate.”
Raised in Los Angeles, Kelly Devine moved to New York as soon as she could to fulfil her dream of becoming a Broadway choreographer. She began as an associate choreographer, working with some of the biggest names in the business who gave her a chance. Now, she is one of the most influential female choreographers not only in Broadway, but globally.
With book, music and lyrics by David Hein and Irene Sankoff, Come From Away is directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley.
The critically-acclaimed musical Come From Away opens at Melbourne’s newly refurbished Comedy Theatre on Saturday 20 July after an awe-inspiring run on Broadway and West End.