“Come From Away” captured for the screen


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“Come From Away” had a fairly simple set, but utilized intricate lighting and props to really tell the story.

Kelsi Seltenreich, Staff Writer

On Sept. 11, 2001, the US was victim to a tragic terrorist attack resulting in over 2,900 deaths. While this attack caused indescribable pain, both physically and mentally, it also united people together in a way never seen before.

The Broadway hit, “Come From Away,” tells the untold stories of the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, welcoming and caring for over 6,500 passengers aboard the planes forced to ground following the 9/11 terrorist attack. The show (based on a book of the same name) opened on Broadway on March 12, 2017, and was later recorded live on stage and released to stream on Apple TV+ on Sept. 10, 2021, the day before the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

The musical explores the different relationships formed and broken due to the abnormal circumstances and it takes the audience through countless character’s journeys. It was especially intriguing to look at the situation through the lens of the first ever female captain of an American Airlines commercial plane: Captain Bass (played by Jenn Colella). When her plane was diverted, she didn’t have much information, wasn’t allowed to share what she did know with the passengers, and was separated from her family. She had to appear calm and collected for her passengers, but on the inside she was hurt and missing her family like the others. Bass was also developing new opinions about her career, as commercial planes were used as the main weapons in the US terrorist attack.

The emotional journeys of many more characters are shared including a mother that is trying to contact her son firefighting in New York, someone of Muslim faith facing discrimination, and two passengers (from different countries) falling in love with each other.

It was nice to be able to see the unaltered stage version of “Come From Away,” rather than it being made into a movie and redone for the screen. The film was of very high quality, capturing the show up-close with intentional angles. The recording quality of “Come From Away” appeared to be even better than the popular Broadway recording of “Hamilton.”

“Come From Away” was unique in the sense that most actors had equal parts. With a cast of 12 people seamlessly changing from one role to another, they accomplished something not done before. Through the simple action of putting on or removing a prop (such as a hat or jacket) they managed to signify the change from a townsperson to a passenger and vice versa. The audience understood that the actors had become completely different characters, through the action of minor costume changes. That clarity is immensely difficult to create, especially for the screen, and the creators of “Come From Away” executed it brilliantly.

Along with the other aspects of the show, the music did not disappoint. “Come From Away” utilized 23 original songs to tell the story. Both the story and score were the perfect balance of beauty and heart with an appropriate amount of humor.

The musical was not only entertaining, but shows people’s different perspectives and inspires the audience to show kindness throughout life, like the citizens of Gander with the people from the diverted plane. It speaks volume to the kindness of Ganders’ people that while in such high stress they were able to help the lost people, providing both shelter and friendship.

People of all ages should watch “Come From Away” as it tells a beautiful story displaying people’s humanity and unification.


Contact Kelsi Seltenreich at [email protected]