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The cast of Come From Away's Melbourne run
Photograph: Jeff BusbyThe cast of Come From Away's Melbourne run

Hit musical 'Come From Away' will finally start its Sydney season next year

The feel-good show about the 9/11 aftermath (no, really) was a smash hit during its Melbourne run

Stephen A Russell

After landing in Melbourne for an extended run at the Comedy Theatre, Tony, Olivier and Green Room Award-winning musical Come From Away was due to touch down in Sydney earlier this year, but was diverted at the last minute by the unexpected storm of the last few world-changing months. Finally, a new Sydney premier for the Christopher Ashley-helmed show with musical staging by Kelly Devin has been announced. It will now open at Haymarket’s Capitol Theatre on Thursday June 3, 2021, after a Melbourne encore in February.

Which is oddly on-brand for a show that’s all about another massive global upheaval. Set in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the US almost 20 years ago now, the Irene Sankoff and David Hein musical details the incredible true story of the teeny Canadian town that welcomed a fleet of diverted flights bearing folks from all over the world. For five days, the Newfoundland outpost of Gander hosted squadrons of disoriented passengers, with the locals making them feel right at home. Time Out London reviewer Alice Saville rang the five-star alarm for this wholesome, feel-good show.

“One of the many surprising joys of this show is how gripping it makes things like the struggle to rustle up transport at a time when the local school bus drivers were on strike and had to be coaxed into crossing the picket line,” she says. “Then there are beds, food, medication and interpreters to be sourced for passengers from across the world.”

Drawing on a raft of interviews with real Newfoundlanders, it’s an emotional rollercoaster, with Saville adding, “This is a picture of a community that stretches itself to breaking point to accommodate the stranded travellers. Like the local animal shelter worker who battles to rescue furry cargo from the planes’ holds, including cats, dogs and a pregnant bonobo ape. Or the schoolteacher who offers comfort to a New Yorker whose firefighter son is missing.”

The cast will comprise American talent including Sharriese Hamilton and Kolby Kindle as well as Australians Zoe Gertz, Doug Hannsell, Katrina Retallick, Sarah Morrison and Simon Maiden, who will be accompanied be a nine-piece band. Producer Rodney Rigby can’t wait for Sydney audiences to see them do their wing. “We are thrilled that we have been able to re-schedule the Sydney season at the magnificent Capitol Theatre. At a time when the world is facing such challenges, this story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things by simply being kind and caring is a timely reminder of the triumph of humanity.”

We agree. In very different, but similarly strange days, Come From Away is the show we need in our lives right now. For so many reasons, 2021 can’t come soon enough.

Ticket holders will be contacted on Tuesday, August 11 in respect to the rescheduled Sydney season on how to exchange or refund their tickets, with the box office opening on Friday, August 21 for everyone else. Find out more info here

If you're in need of some feel-good musical theatre right now, check out An evening with Todd McKenney

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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

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