Review Roundup: What Did The Critics Think of COME FROM AWAY in Winnipeg?
Come From Away is now onstage in Winnipeg at the John Hirsch Mainstage - Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre until February 3. 2018. The Winnipeg engagement is completely sold out. The show then travels to Toronto with performances beginning February 13, 2018 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. The Toronto engagement is an open-ended run with tickets currently on sale until September 2, 2018.
The cast of Come From Away includes Saccha Dennis, Steffi DiDomenicantonio, Barbara Fulton, Lisa Horner, James Kall, George Masswohl, Ali Momen, Jack Noseworthy, Cory O'Brien, Kristen Peace, Eliza-Jane Scott, Kevin Vidal, Susan Dunstan, Kate Etienne, Amir Haidar, Jeff Madden, David Silvestri and Cailin Stadnyk.
Come From Away tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. On September 11, 2001 the world stopped. On September 12, their stories moved us all.
Come From Away features a book, music and lyrics by two-time Tony Award nominees and Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award winners Irene Sankoff & David Hein, direction by Tony Award winner and Outer Critics Circle Award winner Christopher Ashley (Memphis), musical staging by two-time Tony Award nominee Kelly Devine (Rocky), and music supervision by Ian Eisendrath (A Christmas Story).
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Joff Schmidt, CBC News: But this is a ultimately story of how people fought terror with love and helplessness with compassionate action. It's hard to imagine a "feel-good" musical based on 9/11, but Come From Away is nothing if not relentlessly and unabashedly life-affirming. That isn't to say it shies away from darkness - not everyone's story ends happily ever after, and it does acknowledge the early and insidious rooting of post-9/11 xenophobia. But it seems to almost dare audiences to embrace hope in spite of all this. "Any of us could have died yesterday," one character says on Sept. 12. "It's like we're dared to see the world differently today." This could all very quickly become maudlin, too, but Sankoff and Hein's deftly written musical only occasionally flirts with that, largely succeeding at grounding us in the reality of the characters' situation and making us genuinely care about them.
Randall King, Winnipeg Free Press: Playwrights Irene Sankoff and David Hein gathered the material for the play in interviews culled from a trip to Gander on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It took no small amount of daring to come up with a play about those strange, jittery days, let alone a musical. But what an excellent piece it is. And while some characters and events depicted have been altered for dramatic purposes, the play is, in its way, a fine piece of journalism, telling a single true story from multiple perspectives in a compelling way. It is also an unabashed love letter to Canada, Canadian culture, and, in the case of this particular production, Canadian performing talent.
Diana Chabai, ChrisD.ca: This show is deceivingly simple - a single wooden set, mismatched chairs, no costume changes except for the exchange of hats or jackets - but if you pay attention, you'll notice how many intricate technical details exist. The cast switches lines back and forth quickly and seamlessly that you forget time is even passing. The story never stops and it was difficult for me to peel my eyes away from the stage. I didn't want to. There was always something or someone to watch.
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