Yesterday, I fell in love with a musical. It’s not the first time I’ve fallen in love with a musical, but it is the most recent. Before this, it was Hamilton, and that is still an absolute favorite. Today, though, my first love is Come From Away which I saw at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco.
It is the remarkable story of 7,000 passengers who were re-routed to Gander in Newfoundland when all planes were grounded after the 9/11 attacks. Those 7,000 people were taken care of by the people of Gander and the surrounding communities who together totaled about 9,000. They were fed, sheltered, entertained, and mentored by complete strangers, and the stories they told went into creating this wonderful musical.
Among the stories were those of a woman whose son was a firefighter in New York, a couple who met and fell in love in Gander, a man who was at first treated with suspicion because he was Muslim, a pilot who was the first female pilot for American Airlines, and a plane full of Make A Wish children who thought they were going to Disneyland. There are many more, and they are all worth seeing the show for.
The songs all had the rhythms and textures of traditional Newfoundland music which itself has a story-telling focus with Celtic roots. In watching the show, I felt all the emotions; fear, frustration, bewilderment, joy, anxiety, heartbreak, relief, romance, and celebration. The performers and musicians all received well-deserved standing ovations which went on for many minutes.
When I left the theatre my heart was racing and I didn’t come down from that high for a long time. You really should see the touring version of this Tony Award-winning Broadway show if it comes to your city. It will make your heart race, too, and it will restore your faith in human nature.