From a flyer that recently arrived announcing the reopening of the Broadway show “Come From Away.” It’s hard to imagine a scene so lively and life-affirming emerging from the catastrophe of 9/11, but it did. / On our homepage, a more sober marking of the day: the deeply moving 9/11 memorial fountain—water running down the inside wall of the pool, like so many lives ebbing away—at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. / iStock photo.By Nancy McKeon
I’VE NOW SEEN Come From Away twice on Broadway. I can’t wait to see it again on Apple TV+, where a filmed version of the stage show is available as of today (Friday, September 10, 2021).
And if I were in DC I would be vying to be among those watching a free concert version of the show on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, at 6pm this evening, the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 terror attacks on the United States. Ford’s Theatre, which is presenting the Washington show, is where Come From Away made its debut, in September 2016, prior to its years-long Broadway run.
While the exuberant show delivers the gut punch of how that day felt, and while viewing it won’t solve any of this or any country’s problems, I think we’re to be forgiven for wanting an hour and 40 minutes of uplift every now and again. No Covid-19; no America tragically divided by race, economics and politics; no sniping at the immigrants who keep so many of our businesses running. Just the story of the aircraft that were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, when US airspace was closed that sunny September day; how some 7,000 stranded passengers and crew from 38 countries basically doubled the size of the small Canadian town and received a tender welcome and days of care and kindness.
As American Airlines captain Beverly Bass has said in interviews, Come From Away wouldn’t exist without the events of 9/11, but it’s really a story about 9/12, of kindness and generosity.
Broadway itself is emerging slowly and carefully from almost 20 months of shutdown, not of airspace this time but of pandemic-fueled lockdowns of businesses and schools and entire lives, including the world of theater. Broadway performances of Come From Away begin again on September 21.