The great folks of Gander, a distant outpost on the island of Newfoundland, consider themselves because the folks of “The Rock.” Of their mind-set, everybody else on the earth has “Come from Away.”
And but, after the occasions of 9/11 shook People to the core, this small, insular and hardscrabble neighborhood welcomed us strangers from afar with open arms. When 38 airplanes ferrying 7,000 passengers had been pressured to land in distant Newfoundland on 9/11, no person there tried to cover between partitions. As a substitute the natives of Gander exercised their humanity and let People into not simply their nation however in lots of instances into their houses. They handled us like one in every of their very own.
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, who co-wrote the ebook, music and lyrics, channel the gale drive of excellent will generated by the residents of Gander to try to make us really feel higher about human nature.
Sadly, stung as we’re by the tragedies now erupting at our personal borders, it’s onerous to not discover one thing fairly wistful about this Tony-winning musical with its thrumming people rating and its life-affirming thrust. The shadows of present occasions loom in our minds whilst we watch this upbeat morality story unfurl on stage.
In fact, optimism within the face of chaos may be redemptive and this present’s producers, amongst them former TheatreWorks honcho Randy Adams, know how one can whet the viewers’s urge for food for a sentimental journey.
An ensemble piece with no stars and few breakout songs, it is a easy story a few difficult time, the day after the Twin Towers fell. The 12-person forged pivots by means of roles large and small, from an African-American man from New York (a hilarious flip by James Earl Jones II, a distant cousin of the long-lasting Darth Vader actor) who’s accustomed to having to observe his again, to a sunny Texas mom (Christine Toy Johnson) and a priggish English scientist (Chamblee Ferguson). All of them find yourself stranded in Canada. The locals dub them “airplane folks” however they bend over backwards to make them at dwelling.
The narrative spins by means of small however transferring moments for 100 minutes that transport us to a day when People needed to depend upon the kindness of strangers. Some scenes verge on cloying (a homosexual couple’s arc feels pressured). However for essentially the most half, director Christopher Ashley offers the big-hearted crowdpleaser an irresistible propulsive sheen, carving out touching scenes as one unlikely couple comes collectively, one other breaks aside and the entire People study a lesson in hospitality with out strings.
The actors deftly evoke dozens of idiosyncratic accents and stances and personalities as they seize the zeitgeist of seven,000 misplaced souls.
Maybe essentially the most memorable story belongs to Beverly Bass, the primary feminine captain in American Airways historical past, performed with depth and nuance by Becky Gulsvig. Her rendition of “Me and the Sky” harnesses the hovering energy of an anthem. Actually the onstage band sweeps us away with the sheer toe-tapping nature of the rating. The joyousness of the piece is unmistakable and infectious.
But, what’s most startling about this homespun narrative is how trusting the folks of The Rock had been in a time of peril. Whereas the urge to answer a disaster with concern could also be sturdy it isn’t inevitable. Typically that reality virtually makes “Come from Away” appear extra like a fairytale than a chapter in American historical past however it’s certain good to be reminded that there’s extra to human nature than its darkish facet.
‘COME FROM AWAY’
E-book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Via: Feb. 3
The place: Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., San Francisco
Operating time: One hour, 40 minutes, no intermission
Tickets: $56-$256 (topic to vary); 888-746-1799, www.shnsf.com