Welcome to the Rock – as locals called Newfoundland – and to an extraordinary story of open-hearted generosity in the wake of a dreadful act of terror, celebrated in the uplifting, inspiring, joyous musical Come From Away. What’s more, by the end of the show you will have sampled a real taste of life in the remote island. Swept up in the show, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking (perhaps sentimentally) that I’d love to visit the town of Gander one day.
The cast of Come From Away. Photograph © Jeff Busby
From the opening number by the show’s writers, Canadian husband-and-wife team David Hein and Irene Sankoff (who co-wrote the book, music and lyrics), we are taken into the heart of the Gander community, many of whom came together with people from nearby villages to welcome almost 7000 passengers stranded there for five days when American airspace was closed following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
As planes bound for New York were directed elsewhere, 38 were sent to Gander, nearly doubling the local population overnight. Hein and Sankoff first became aware of this...