Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: COME FROM AWAY Comes To Broadway On Tour at the SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center

Review: COME FROM AWAY Comes To Broadway On Tour at the SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center

The tour is in Sacramento through September 25

Once in a while, an event occurs that is so viscerally powerful that you will always remember exactly what you were doing when it happened. Most people over 70 will remember what they were doing when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. People my age remember the Challenger disaster vividly (I was in my 6th-grade classroom watching the launch on t.v.). Arguably even more tragic are the events that transpired on September 11, 2001. From the dust of the wreckage, though, came hope and a unified country. Come From Away is a story of that hope and unification. It makes its Sacramento premiere this week in a special engagement that had been postponed since 2020.

Come From Away is a story of light in the darkness and the power of human kindness. It's based on the true story of 38 planes that were redirected to the small Newfoundland town of Gander on September 11 after the attacks occurred and U.S. airspace was shut down. The community was ill-equipped to handle a sudden influx of 7,000 newcomers but banded together to feed, clothe, house, and welcome every displaced passenger. With book, music, and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein (My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding), Come From Away opened on Broadway in 2017 and earned 7 Tony nominations with one win for Best Direction of a Musical.

An atypical event deserves a show that eschews convention. Come From Away breathes new life into the new 2022 Broadway on Tour season with a diverse cast and an innovative set design by Beowulf Boritt. The 12-person ensemble handily maneuvers the 12-chair set to fashion such locations as a Tim Hortons, a pub, a Newfoundland school, and even an airplane. The band that is cleverly camouflaged onstage quickly morphs into a surprising, foot-stomping pub sensation with the Celtic-inspired audience favorite, "Screech In." Even the back wall doubles as the cargo section of a grounded plane, housing everything from cats to pregnant bonobo monkeys.

As versatile as the set are the performers. All twelve segue seamlessly from speaking "Newfoundlander" to an American accent, with some tackling the other backgrounds represented in the "plane people," as the locals call them. More importantly, all of them are truly funny. What I appreciate about this show is its sensitive handling of a topic that has to be one of the most difficult to tackle. Would anyone want to go see a show that's only about the dark sides of 9/11? No, that would be far too depressing. Come From Away explores the emotions, racial tensions, and hardships that all the passengers felt, but infuses the dialect with humor before any of us can become rooted in sadness. It is equally witty, poignant, and mesmerizing. My litmus test of a great show is asking myself if I would go see it again the same week. The answer is yes, a resounding yes!

Just as Mr. Rogers is famously quoted as saying, "Look for the helpers," Come From Away expresses a similar sentiment. The pilot of the rerouted plane tells us, "It's not about the sadness of 9/11, it's about the goodness that came out of it." While we will never forget the horror of that day, we can also remember the capacity of the human heart to be one of those helpers.

Come From Away plays at the SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center through September 25. Tickets may be found at BroadwaySacramento.com, by calling (916) 557-1999, or by visiting the Broadway Sacramento Box Office at 1419 H Street.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy



Related Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More



From This Author - Courtney Symes

Courtney Symes is a long-time theatre aficionado who has been writing for BroadwayWorld since 2017. She has been active in theatre and youth organizations in her community. After trying law sc... (read more about this author)


Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Sacramento Theatre CompanyReview: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Sacramento Theatre Company
December 4, 2022

As we reach the end of 2022, it’s time to pause and reflect on the past year. Have we been naughty or nice? Stingy or generous? While most of us can’t boast of being the best miser, like Scrooge, or the most innocent, like Tiny Tim, we can find solace that we are somewhere in the middle and most likely will not be visited by three specters in the middle of the night. As familiar as A Christmas Carol is to most of us, it continues to teach us lessons almost 180 years after its inception. As Director Michael Laun says, “All we need to do is place a cardboard sign in the hands of the ‘beggar child’ and we can see the relevance still today.” Indeed, its themes of helping the needy and the greed of the wealthy are themes that we see every night on our television news. Change Scrooge to a contemporary politician or business mogul and A Christmas Carol could be set in 2022 America. Charles Dickens was a staunch proponent of social reform, and the Sacramento Theatre Company champions his vision with their adaptation of this staple of the holiday season.

Review: LIFE SUCKS Doesn't Suck at Big Idea TheatreReview: LIFE SUCKS Doesn't Suck at Big Idea Theatre
November 29, 2022

Thanksgiving this year was a wonderful gathering at home, enjoying the riches of food and family. Ironically, the next night was spent ruminating about how Life Sucks. This work by playwright Aaron Posner is a modern adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s 1898 play, Uncle Vanya. Big Idea Theatre has brought this tale to life with a mishmash of quirky personalities and underground flair.

Review: THE LOST CLAUS Finds Christmas Spirit at the B Street TheatreReview: THE LOST CLAUS Finds Christmas Spirit at the B Street Theatre
November 23, 2022

‘Tis the season to be jolly!  Unless you’re Santa, whose ancient body has compiled a laundry list of ailments. Playwright Buck Busfield has imagined a contemporary North Pole in this sweet and salty tale of Christmas hijinks at the B Street Theatre.

Review: THE LARAMIE PROJECT Sparks Dialogue at Sacramento State's Playwrights TheatreReview: THE LARAMIE PROJECT Sparks Dialogue at Sacramento State's Playwrights Theatre
November 21, 2022

As I watched The Laramie Project at Sacramento State University on Saturday night, I thought to myself how far we’ve come as a society and how much progress we’ve made since 1998. That was the year Matthew Shepard was beaten and tied to a fence in rural Wyoming by two young men – left to die simply because he was gay. What I didn’t know was that, at about the same time, another tragedy was unfolding in Colorado as another young man opened fire on innocent victims at an LGBTQ nightclub, proving that we have much further to go and illuminating the importance of pieces like The Laramie Project.

Interview: Freefall Stage Talks About THE MOUSETRAP, Plays vs. Musicals, and Being ExcellentInterview: Freefall Stage Talks About THE MOUSETRAP, Plays vs. Musicals, and Being Excellent
November 13, 2022

A cozy parlor, a warm hearth, an inviting inn…what could possibly go wrong when seven strangers gather to seek refuge from a storm?  Come find out in Freefall Stage’s production of Dame Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Known as the world’s longest-running play, it has run in London’s West End continuously since 1952, only halting temporarily due to Covid restrictions.