Review: ‘Come From Away’ at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

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The simple “Come From Away” set is made up of 12 chairs that the actors reconfigure for a specific scene, be it set in a Tim Horton’s or the interior of a jet plane, some tall trees, and a rather homespun onstage band.

The actors enact multiple roles while deftly maintaining the unique identity of each character. We first meet the town of Gander through its mayor Claude, played by Joel Hatch, who sets the scene. The entire cast, which includes Jenn Collella as Beverly, the American Airlines pilot and others, Chad Kimball as Kevin T. and others, and Rodney Hicks as Bob the passenger who is blown away by local hospitality and others, truly shines.

On rare occasion, a few display some ugly prejudices (a flight attendant refuses to board her flight because of the presence of a Muslim passenger) but mostly we find inclusiveness (when the gay couple, Kevin and Kevin, wander into a local bar, they find out almost everyone in the bar has a gay daughter, cousin, or friend). Who knew, for example, that Gander was “the gayest town in Newfoundland”?

Several of the plane people become honorary Newfoundlanders, via an initiation rite that includes kissing a fish. Lifelong friendships and relationships are formed, while other relationships are set aside.

“Come From Away” is a window into an extraordinary five-day period that serves to reinforce my belief that the innate goodness may be found in virtually every person. While it takes an extraordinary event and extraordinary people on an island on the edge of the Atlantic to make this point, it’s one you won’t want to miss.  If you see just one show on Broadway this season, this should be it.

THE DETAILS

“Come From Away”
Gerard Schoenfeld Theatre
236 W 45th Street
New York, N.Y. 10036
www.comefromaway.com

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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