BWW Review: COME FROM AWAY Soars at the Aronoff Center
Put a pin here in Cincinnati! The national tour of "Come From Away" has landed and will play through Sept. 29 at the Aronoff Center as the first show in the 2019-2020 Broadway in Cincinnati series.
If there were ever a show that makes you feel anything and everything, it's this one. The new hit broadway musical flips the script for the events that happened on 9/11, shedding light on the true story of a small town in Newfoundland, Canada that showed hospitality, love and kindness amidst tragedy to the passengers from the 38 rerouted planes.
"Come From Away" is an ensemble piece on steroids as each character plays multiple roles and interchanges them with the drop of a hat... and accent. Actors will be playing Newfoundlanders with thick Newfoundland accents in one scene, and when the lights come up on the next scene, they have changed an article of clothing, such as a vest or a blazer, and are now sporting a thick country drawl.
The versatility of the cast isn't the most impressive part though. Every single actor on that stage has an insanely emotionally difficult character arch to navigate during the show, and every actor does it brilliantly and seemingly effortlessly.
At the opening night performance, Brandon Springman (Standby) played "Kevin T. & Others." Kevin T. is dating Kevin J. (Yes, they're both named Kevin. They thought it was cute at first.) and throughout the musical the audience sees the couple going through strife that can sometimes be unavoidable in crisis situations. Springman's character wants to enjoy the time that they are forced to spend in Gander and make the most of it, while the other Kevin (Nick Duckart) is struggling with being away from his home in New York and wants to do whatever it takes to get back to his home. Springman caught my attention near the beginning of the show, and in every scene and song after that, he was one of the main focal points for me. His entire performance was so raw and so believable in every moment, and his solo in "Prayer" was absolutely breathtaking. I later came to find out that this was his debut of that track, and my amazement was doubled.
My "Come From Away" earworm was "Me and The Sky," stunningly sung by Marika Aubrey who plays Captain Beverley Bass, a pilot of one of the planes that got rerouted to Gander. Aubrey's vocal talents mixed with the storytelling ability in that song alone is worth the price of admission. The best kind of storytelling is that where you can visually see the narrative within the song come to life in front of you, and make you feel, remember moments and empathize with the actor, and I most certainly did all of those things during this song. Aubrey had phenomenal presence in all of her characters, as each had a specific posture and swagger to them that was delightful to watch.
As a journalist myself, I had no choice but to identify with and love Emily Walton as new journalist, Janice Mosher, whose first day on her new reporting job happens to be 9/11. Janice serves as the Gander correspondent until the passengers leave to go back home. Walton's bright-eyed and bushy-tailed demeanor as Janice was an excellent source of love and joy in the musical and she was easily relatable with her try-hard attitude.
The entire company is one of the strongest I have seen in the Aronoff Center in my many years of viewing top tier talent, but what's even more important is the clear love that is felt radiating from the company onstage to the audience.
I walked out of the theatre with newfound hope in humanity, remembering that there is goodness and kindness in the world if we are just willing to open our arms to people. There was not a single moment of hesitation from the Newfoundlanders when they were called upon to help. People opened up their homes and their hearts, and though it took a while from the passengers, they were eventually met and rewarded with beautiful, new relationships that will last and have meaning for many, many years.
"Tonight we honor what was lost, but we also commemorate what was found."
"Stop the world" and go see "Come From Away" before it screeches out of Cincinnati Sept. 29.
For more information regarding "Come From Away" and to purchase tickets, tap here.