“Come From Away” review: kindness in the wake of 9/11

“On 9/11, the world stopped. On 9/12, their stories moved us all.” This description from the show’s website sums up the Broadway musical “Come From Away,” which I had the chance to see during the National Tour’s run in Cincinnati.

   “Come From Away” tells the story of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, after 38 planes landed in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland due to the closed U.S. airspace. The town welcomed these 7,000 passengers, who were stuck in Gander for five days, and did everything they could to help them. 

   The show opened in 2017 on Broadway, and its National Tour came to the Aronoff Center Sept. 17–29.

   At first glance, the show may just seem like a depressing 9/11 musical. But it is much more; the heart of the story is not the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks, but the kindness and openness displayed in the face of them. Leaving the performance, I was left with a sense of hope in human kindness during a time of division in our country.


   In the finale of the show, a certain lyric stands out: “Because we come from everywhere, we all come from away.” Throughout the show, the townspeople of Gander refer to their visitors as “come-from-aways.” This lyric embodies an important message of the musical—that kindness is crucial, no matter where someone comes from or what they look like.


   In addition, “Come From Away” is simple, but in a way that works well for the story. With a set consisting mainly of trees and rows of chairs, and actors switching between playing multiple parts with just a small costume change, the simplicity allows the uplifting message to shine through.


   Overall, “Come From Away” exceeds expectations of what one would expect from “the 9/11 musical,” providing the audience with an inspiring message that is needed in today’s world.