I recently saw Come From Away on Broadway and until now I haven’t been able to articulate how I felt about it. “GOOD. GOOD. SO GOOD. GO SEE,” was about all I could come up with because that’s just what it was. I would even venture to say it’s thebesthingi’veseeninmylifeeveromigoshitwouldbeanhonortodoashowsochallengingandbeautifulgahhhh. I had the honor of being in their first New York audience thanks to the wonderful Monica Rodrigues and her wonderful friends Corey and Jessica Brunish. It felt really special to sit amidst a sea of other New Yorkers and many families of the NYFD a see our ally’s perspective of an event that caused so much tragedy in our city and country. I was only in 1st grade on 9/11 but I still tear up writing this and definitely did watching the show.
On the contrary, one of the shows strength’s is it’s dynamic nature and that cannot be credited to one aspect alone. The excellent book and simultaneously haunting but uplifting music, agile and resilient cast, and incredible direction all have a hand in the roller coaster of emotions this show is. Going into the show, I didn’t know what to expect. If I could assume anything is that it would be a tear jerker for the entire show, but this show is much smarter than that. You see, they captured the grieving process in such an incredibly human way. Through the swells in the music and the brilliant staging, you experienced the annoyance the passengers relocated to Newfoundland felt when they were stuck on the plane without any information. You felt it transition into fear and worry, then into anger, then into loopy giddiness. Every single comedic and dramatic highlight of the show was entirely earned.
The cast itself was composed of only twelve actors. I’ve never seen a more cohesive ensemble. Something very striking about the show is that there is no lead. The show dances gracefully from the Newfoundlanders’ perspective to the passengers and pilot’s perspective. I watched the actors in complete admiration as they each embodied 3-5 completely different characters and with jacket/hat changes alone moved the show from perspective to perspective. With only twelve bodies, they created an entire town and 6,700 displaced passengers. Each actor had an incredibly stunning performance, but someone who stuck out to me was Jenn Colella. I’d seen Jenn perform before, a few years back in What If? and she struck me then but this performance truly surpassed all others I’ve seen from her. Like the other actors in this show she played multiple characters; however, her pilot character and her brilliant solo about becoming the first female captain was incredibly relatable and well executed. Her connection to the role and commitment was amazing and it was so inspiring to see such a strong female character have her story told.
In short, this show is AMAZING and I can’t speak highly enough about it. The cast album is now available but seeing the show is a whole separate experience. Buy tickets here! To learn more about the story behind the show, check out the NY Times article, “The Plane People.”