Review: COME FROM AWAY at Providence Performing Arts Center

A love letter to Newfoundland

By: Feb. 22, 2023
Review: COME FROM AWAY at Providence Performing Arts Center
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

Come from Away is fun and fast-paced, yet poignant and meaningful, with infectious, catchy songs. Irene Sankoff and David Hein's uplifting musical is a true story of love and humanity in the face of terror, and it's a celebration of Newfoundland's unique culture, its people and their generous community spirit. And while you could stream a 2021 movie version, Come From Away isn't just a must-see, it's a "must-feel," so take advantage of seeing this tremendous production in person, while it's at the Providence Performing Arts Center now.

Newfoundland's unique dialect developed over centuries of isolation (the Dictionary of Newfoundland English has more than 800 pages) and Come From Away's ensemble cast has not only perfected it without overdoing it, but they also slip in and out of it into a range of other accents to portray multiple roles, some of which are based on real people. This dialect plays an important role as it establishes such a strong sense of place.

That isolation has also imbued Newfoundlanders with the self-reliance that is celebrated in this musical, for it's at the heart of how a small community was able to rally to care, feed, clothe, entertain, and comfort the 7,000 strangers or "plane people" from around the world- and 19 animals -whose stranding in the small town on 9/11 nearly doubled its population overnight.

Marika Aubrey portrays real-life pilot Beverly, the first female captain of an American Airlines commercial plan, and also Newfoundlander Annette. Marika changes accents and characters as easily as changing jackets. Her rendition of Me and the Sky is a moving history of a groundbreaking career. Cailyn Stadnyk's clear beautiful voice shines in Stop the World as she plays the real-life Diane who meets, and later marries, Nick, played by Clint Butler who is also the dance captain. The rest of this excellent cast includes Jordan Barbour, Holly Ann Butler, Kevin Carolan, Harter Clingman, Phyre Hawkins, Ali Momen, Kristen Peace, Danielle K. Thomas and Jeremy Woodard.

The minimalist set, by Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt, features a smattering of chairs and tables on a revolving stage surrounded by trees, and these furnishings become everything from a plane cabin, to the legion hall, a school, to the local Tim Horton's, helping the viewer to get caught up in the story and focus on the characters. Likewise, Toni-Leslie James's costumes remind us that this is a story of average people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

The band, however, is at the very heart on this show. Cameron Moncur leads them and also plays keyboards, accordion, and harmonium. The band features Isaac Alderson, Kiana June Weber, Billy Bivona, Martin Howley, Sean Rubin, Steve Holloway and Ben Morrow, who play a variety of instruments including Celtic mainstays the tin whistle, flute, bouzouki, mandolin and the uillean pipes, as well as the unique Newfoundland ugly stick, a rhythm instrument traditionally homemade from household items and trash. In fact, the show's greatest moment might just be the moment when the band comes forward at the end and turns the entire venue into a rollicking Newfie "kitchen party." Come see Come From Away and you might find yourself checking ferry schedules the very next day.

This production, directed by Christopher Ashley, is only at PPAC until February 26. For more information, go to


To post a comment, you must register and login.

Vote Sponsor