Come From Away FAQ: Your top 15 questions answered!
Posted on 20 April 2020
One of the best musicals the West End has to offer continues to wow London audiences! Here's everything you need to know about Come From Away in the UK so that you won't feel like a fish out of water!
The title of the hit Canadian musical Come From Away is no random jumbling of words but in fact, a real term that's widely used in Canada's Atlantic provinces (i.e. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and the easternmost province of Newfoundland and Labrador). A "come from away" is an outsider who has moved to the local area from elsewhere. The plural form for "come from away" is "come from aways." An example of the term used in a sentence is: "I'm a come from away from Toronto but my grandfather was born here."
New West End favourite Come From Away was written by Canadian married couple Irene Sankoff and David Hein, who together penned the musical's book, music, and lyrics. Their work on the show earned them the 2017 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Book of a Musical as well as the 2019 Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Outstanding Achievement in Music. The pair have also earned multiple award nominations for Come From Away, including Tony Award nominations for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and more.
Come From Away is set in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when 38 commercial aircraft were ordered to make an emergency landing in the tiny Canadian town of Gander in Newfoundland and Labrador as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon. The musical's eclectic cast of characters is based on real-life people, including the residents of Gander who selflessly took care of over 7,000 stranded travellers, providing them with food and shelter. The musical Come From Away has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from audiences and critics alike, and it has been praised for its warm reminder that humans are capable of being kind even under dire circumstances and can overcome populist hatred and xenophobia.
The idea to write the musical came from Toronto lawyer Michael Rubinoff, who is also a theatre producer and an Associate Dean of Visual and Performing Arts at Oakville's Sheridan College. His idea caught the attention of Irene Sankoff and David Hein, whom he had known from their 2009 stand-out musical, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, which became a huge hit at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Sankoff and Hein visited the town of Gander on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks to interview some of the local residents as well as returning passengers. The result was a 45-minute workshop version of Come From Away put on as part of the Sheridan College Music Theatre Performance Program. After it enjoyed initial success, the rest was history as the musical is now a major international production.
A casting update for the London production of Come From Away was recently announced, with the hit West End show welcoming to the rock new 'come from aways' Alasdair Harvey (EastEnders) as Nick/Doug and others, Alice Fearn (Wicked's Elphaba) as Beverley/Annette and others, James Doherty as Claude and others, Kate Graham as Diane and others, and Tarinn Callender as Bob and others.
They are joined by returning cast members Cat Simmons as Hannah and others, Emma Salvo as Janice and others, Harry Morrison as Oz and others, Jenna Boyd as Beulah and others, Jonathan Andrew Hume as Kevin J/Ali and others, Mark Dugdale as Kevin T/Garth and others, and Mary Doherty as Bonnie and others.
The West End cast of Come From Away is completed by new ensemble members Matthew Whennel-Clark, Micha Richardson, Ricardo Castro, Sorelle Marsh, and Stuart Hickey alongside returning ensemble members Alexander McMorran, Chiara Baronti, and Jennifer Tierney.
Come From Away is currently running major productions on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in New York, in the West End at London's Phoenix Theatre, in Canada at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, and on a North American tour.
Come From Away recently extended its West End run and is now booking until 8 May 2021 in an open-ended run. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the show's overwhelming popularity, it is highly likely the show will extend again to allow for as many London theatregoers to see it as possible.
The Come From Away musical opened for previews on 18 February 2017 at Broadway's Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, where it continues to run to this day. The show's official Broadway opening night took place on 12 March 2017.
So far no plans have been announced for a nationwide UK tour of Come From Away. The Australian production of Come From Away was due to tour China this year (2020) but was delayed to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is also likely that due to COVID-19 we will not see a UK touring production any time soon.
It was announced back in November 2017 that The Mark Gordon Company had acquired the rights to produce a major motion picture adaptation of Come From Away, with Sankoff and Hein returning to write the screenplay and Christopher Ashley returning to direct the film.
Currently, no further developments have come out about the Come From Away movie and it may be a while before fans see this heartwarming musical in cinemas.
Come From Away's running time is approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes, including an interval.
Matinee performances of Come From Away run on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm and finish at approximately 4.30pm. Evening performances of London's Come From Away musical take place from Tuesday through Saturday at 7.30pm and finishes at about 9.30pm.
Come From Away is set in the small town of Gander, located in the northeastern part of Newfoundland in the Newfoundland and Labrador province in Atlantic Canada. The population of Gander is now approximately 11,688 people and it became a household name in 2001 when it played a big role in the displacement of thousands of passengers during the 9/11 disaster.
- Quite a bit of Come From Away is true. Nick and Diane Marson were a real-life couple who fell in love in a shelter in Gander.
- The song "28 Hours" is a reference to how passengers were forced to stay on board their aircraft for up to 28 hours, after which they were only permitted to step foot on the runway with their carry-on luggage.
- A total of 255 planes were diverted to several Canadian towns with 38 of them diverted to Gander. Several planes began sinking into the tarmac due to an intense heatwave.
- Bonnie is based on the real-life head of the SPCA, who rescued 11 dogs, nine cats, and two Bonobo apes from the various cargo holds.
- Beverley Bass is based on the real-life Beverley Bass who made history in 1976 when she became American Airline's first female captain and later captain of the first-ever all-female crew in the world. The lyrics from the song "Me and the Sky" are almost exactly the same word-for-word from an interview she did with Sankoff and Hein. The pilot is reportedly one of the show's #1 fans and has seen Come From Away over 100 times.
Cheap Come From Away tickets for the London run are now booking through London Theatre Direct for incredibly low prices. When you purchase tickets through our safe and secure booking system, you'll gain access to our innovative interactive seating plan complete with colour-coded price bands, discounted tickets, and restricted view information to help you make informed decisions about the best place to sit in the Phoenix Theatre.