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The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

‘Come From Away’ Review: People banding together in the wake of a tragedy

Come From Away promotional poster. 
Source: Stanley Theatre website
“Come From Away” promotional poster. Source: Stanley Theatre website

On Tuesday, April 16, the touring cast and company of the Broadway musical “Come From Away” graced the stage of the Stanley Theater in Utica. The musical is based on a true story about the small town of Gander, Newfoundland as its airport suddenly becomes an emergency landing zone for flights being redirected in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


I heard many good things about the show, so when I bought a ticket, I had high expectations. 


The show opened with the people of Gander tending to their jobs and duties as mayor, veterinarian, news reporter, etc., and there’s talk that their airport might finally be torn down. The day takes a drastic turn when air traffic control calls for a state of emergency and announces that they need more air traffic controllers on the scene as they had been notified of many flights being redirected towards their airport.


It was interesting how the cast was able to change their dynamics with others as they switched characters. In each scene or song number, they switched between the people of Gander and the people aboard the flights that were making emergency landings.


An example of this is how they switched between the Gander citizens who were preparing for the passengers and converting places into emergency shelters and then switching mid-scene to represent the panic-stricken passengers who aren’t allowed off their flights.


Actors Stanton Morales and Molly Samson were playing Gander people who didn’t interact and then would switch to two passengers who were both complete opposites of one another but ended up falling in love with each other during their stay in Gander. No matter how many characters they played, they managed to keep a solid storyline between each character they were playing.


After hearing about the 9/11 attacks, passengers stated their personal information so they could keep count of those who landed in Gander. One man named Ali explains that he’s Egyptian and Muslim, and was on the plane for business reasons. Throughout the show, passengers acted afraid of him and wanted him to go away. They went as far as begging that he be pulled aside for additional questioning. At that moment I realized that they were stereotyping the passenger because he fit the description of those who committed the attacks. 


Further in the story, he admitted to being an international chef for a hotel. When passengers were told they could return home, many did not want him on the plane, the pilot even ordered for him to be body searched before he was allowed onboard. 


I was appalled at the fact that the passengers didn’t take a minute to get to know the passenger before judging him. But I think that’s what drives home one of the points I got from this show: fear blinds a person’s ability to think rationally.


One of the funniest plots in the show was when they asked one of the passengers to go round up everyone’s grill in the neighborhood to have a giant cookout. The passenger asked to do this was terrified that he would get hurt for stealing people’s grills. Eventually he got caught and panicked but the Gander native simply pointed out that he had a better grill for him instead. It was comedic, at first I first felt worried for the character but then completely cracked up at how kind and unconcerned the Gander native was about someone stealing his grill.


The music in this show was well done. The songs included a mixture of rock, country and folk. One of my favorite songs from the show was  “If You Want to be a Newfoundlander,” which was sung at a bar where one of the Gander natives explained to the passengers that they had a tradition called screeching in. The tradition says that they must take a shot of a powerful alcohol and then kiss a cod to be considered one of the “Newfoundlanders.” This song was my favorite as it was not only one of the catchiest tunes in the show but also a funny musical number.

Overall, this show was a blast to see and left me full of joy. I’d see it again if it came back to the area and highly recommend others consider it as well.

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About the Contributor
Charles Buckley
Charles Buckley, Features Editor
Class Year: Junior Major: Communication and Media Minors: Creative Writing and Theatre Previous Position: Staff Writer (2020-2021), Clerk (2021-2022), Features Editor (Fall 2023)

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