BWW Interview: Sharone Sayegh of COME FROM AWAY at Bass Concert Hall
September 11, 2001 was a terrifying day for the world. People initially felt so helpless as the news continued to broadcast all the sadness, destruction, and death surrounding the attacks. Planes were ordered to land wherever they could leaving the passengers worried, alone, and far from home and loved ones. Then, stories on the news started to emerge about the humanity and compassion being shown to each other. The story COME FROM AWAY shares the true story of the town of Gander in Canada that came together to help stranded passengers feel at home while waiting to get to their own homes again. BWW caught up with actress Sharone Sayegh who plays Bonnie and others as the show prepares to come to Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas.
What made you take an interest in performing?
Originally, when I was in 2nd grade, all I wanted to do was copy my older sister. She was going to drama class after school, and in an effort to be as cool as her, I asked my mom if I could sign up too. I then enrolled in a drama class at my local community center and LOVED it. I love singing, dancing, telling stories, and especially loved learning accents. I was constantly performing for my family during dinner time. My older sister then quickly stopped going!
What was your earliest memory of being onstage?
Performing in "Free to be You and Me" when I was 8. I remember standing on the stage at school, looking out and the red seats, and singing. I loved the feeling of looking at the audience and telling them a story.
What are some of your favorite roles you've played?
Last year I was fortunate enough to originate my first role on Broadway as "Anna" in The Band's Visit. That was a very special experience for me as I was portraying my own ethnicity on Broadway for the first time and speaking Hebrew and Arabic onstage. It was also very special for me to help create the role from the beginning of The Band's Visit's journey to Broadway. I even got to help make up some of the lines I said in Hebrew!
Another role I really loved playing was "Sharone" in The Wildness at Ars Nova. Since it was the world premiere of the show, they named the role after me which was pretty cool! It was a beautiful piece and I loved collaborating with all the actors and musicians to help bring it to life.
Tell us a little bit more about how you got cast for COME FROM AWAY.
I actually originally auditioned for another role and during my final callback, the director Chris Ashley asked if I could read the sides for "Bonnie". I went out of the room for 5 minutes, read over the 3 scenes, and went back in! I thought to myself "alright, you didn't have time to prepare these scenes, just jump in and make strong choices!" Luckily, it worked out and here I am today! In retrospect, I am so much more of a "Bonnie" than the other role I had originally auditioned for, I'm so glad that Chris saw that in me.
What is the best part about being in this show?
Sharing this incredible story all around the country. The response is amazing, especially when people realize that it's a true story. I've never been in a show where the audience erupts so loudly when the show ends, it gets me emotional every time. I feel very grateful to get to do what I love and especially to get to do a show I love.
What's going to surprise people about COME FROM AWAY?
That there's actually a lot of humor in the piece. When people hear the premise of the show, they assume it's as very dark show. And although it does have some intense moments, the story is really about 9/12, not 9/11. It's about people coming together and helping each other and the best of humanity.
Don't miss this inspiring show as it plays at Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas from February 18-23, 2020. Get your tickets at the Texas Performing Arts website.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matthew Murphy