Two years ago, after seeing it on Broadway, I raved about the musical “Come From Away” (full review here), at one point saying:
This is a show that will not only have a long run on Broadway, but will no doubt be performed by road companies, regional theaters, and even high school/college drama departments for a long time to come.
Well, the national road company is in St. Louis, so I went to see it again last night at The Fabulous Fox, and I’m happy to say the show is still wonderful, inspirational, and moving.
It’s about the little Canadian town of Gander, Newfoundland, where the population nearly doubled for a few days because of the 9/11 attacks. That day, when US airspace was closed, 38 planes were diverted to the Gander airport, where the locals opened their homes, schools, and businesses to help out the 7,000 stranded passengers and crew. The musical uses some of the real names and stories of those who were there.
I was a little worried going in, after seeing signs in the lobby informing us that three understudies were filling in. That can lead to disappointment, although the last time it happened to us, we were at the Lincoln Center production of “My Fair Lady” (review here) when star Laura Benanti had the night off. Fortunately, her replacement, Kerstin Anderson, was so good we forgot she was an understudy in mere minutes.
The same was true with “Come From Away,” although I couldn’t have told you any of the members of the original Broadway cast, nor this traveling troupe. Because all twelve actors play multiple roles, there is no singular star, and I couldn’t tell who was a regular and who was a substitute, but they were all terrific.
My only complaint about the evening was at the end. I’m always annoyed by rude, ungrateful theatergoers. Last night, after the cast received a standing ovation and took two curtain calls, the onstage band continued to jam for several minutes and take bows of their own while the audience stayed on its feet and clapped along. Well, not the whole audience. Unfortunately, about 10% of the crowd felt they had to rush out of there before the proceedings were over. As several of them passed my aisle seat, I wanted to shout at them, “Can’t you see there are still performers on stage?” I guess they wanted to get outside and get soaked in the torrential downpour as soon as possible.
Still, I highly recommend you see “Come From Away” during its St. Louis run — or at any other venue on the tour, which continues well into 2020. I think you’ll have as good a time as I have, twice. Especially if you stay till the very end.