THE worldwide smash hit musical COME FROM AWAY has its keenly-awaited Sydney opening at the magnificent Capitol Theatre with performances from 3 June.
After taking Melbourne by storm when the Tony Award-winning musical premiered in July 2019, and again in its 2021 encore season, the show enjoyed months of standing ovations and universal acclaim, breaking box office records to become the most successful production in the Comedy Theatre’s 93-year history.
Having recently played to capacity audiences at QPAC in Brisbane, the Australian-cast production of COME FROM AWAY currently remains the only production being performed anywhere in the world due to the ongoing impact of COVID. That the musical can premiere in Sydney next month is cause for celebration and occasion for the producers Junkyard Dog Productions and Rodney Rigby to express their gratitude to the State Government and Frontline Emergency and Essential Service workers for keeping NSW safe.
“It’s unbelievable that the musical began in Melbourne almost two years ago and that it is finally coming to the perfect place for the show,” said Rodney Rigby. “The musical will be intimate and look beautiful at the Capitol Theatre. I can’t wait for audiences in Sydney to embrace this story of kindness and compassion.”
The Olivier Award-winning West End production of COME FROM AWAY returns to London’s Phoenix Theatre from July 22, with the Tony Award-winning New York production re-opening in Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on September 21. Shooting of the New York production was completed at the theatre last week for a live capture film to be released on Apple TV+ in September 2021 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The musical’s director Christopher Ashley helmed the project featuring musical staging by the show’s choreographer Kelly Devine as well as music supervision by Ian Eisendrath.
A global sensation, COME FROM AWAY opened on Broadway to wide acclaim in 2017 and continued its international triumph with sold-out, record breaking seasons in Toronto, London and a 60-city North American tour. The story at the musical’s heart draws inspiration from the real-life events that came in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York, which closed US airspace for the first time in history. It was then that 38 planes carrying almost 7,000 people from more than 100 countries were diverted to a tiny island, known to locals as “The Rock”. Now immortalized in this ground-breaking musical, the extraordinary experiences of the “come from aways”, and the unexpected outpouring of generosity and hospitality they received in Gander, Newfoundland, continues to inspire unity and hope among audiences throughout the world.
Meet the ‘real life’ Come From Aways & Newfoundlanders living in Australia
Mount Martha (VIC)
Flight Stewardess stranded in Newfoundland
Marion Bradley is a former career stewardess with a warm wit and a pragmatist at heart. It was an ordinary day when she clocked on for work in London for a flight to Houston. Midway across the Atlantic Ocean, Marion learned that planes had crashed into the “Twin Towers” in New York and was told by the Captain to keep the news quiet until it became clear what was happening.
The Continental Airlines stewardess was travelling on one of the 38 commercial planes diverted to the small town of Gander as the 9/11 disaster unfolded. Marion, who retired from flying in July 2020 and lives with her Australian partner in Mount Martha, has vivid memories of that “surreal” time. One of the quips she made to a middle-aged couple who found love in Gander – Englishman Nick and Texan woman Diane – made it into Come From Away. “It’s a beautiful show… It was a strange time and taught me to look for the best in people.”
Ocean Grove (VIC)
Newfoundlander who volunteered to assist
Born in St Johns, Newfoundland, Allison was 14 and in her first week of high school when the September 11, 2001, attacks happened. She was home for lunch and saw the devastating events unfold on television. A number of planes were diverted to St Johns International Airport as well as to Gander. Allison later met an Australian man in Newfoundland and moved to Australia in 2008. When she experienced Come From Away on stage she immediately related to the story given her experiences as a volunteer.
Australian stranded in Newfoundland
As a one-time member of the Australian air force, Bob Smith was quick to notice that the plane he was on was dumping fuel before it made an emergency landing in Gander, Newfoundland. He and his fellow passengers had to stay on board for 24 hours, during which time they ran out of water and the air conditioning broke down. He recalls that the children on the aircraft were well-behaved and that the Captain and various passengers, including a singer, entertained everyone on board to calm their nerves
Iain and Julia Campbell
St Hubert’s Island (NSW)
Stranded in Newfoundland
Australian couple Iain and Julia were among the 6579 passengers who were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, at the time of the September 11 attacks. The couple, who were living overseas at the time, were travelling from Heathrow to Chicago with about 300 passengers when the Captain announced that the plane had to be diverted. They remained on the plane for 26 hours before being allowed to disembark.
Iain and Julia were then taken by bus to the town of Gambo in the northeast where they were hosted by local town folk. Each day, complete strangers would bring clothes and basic items, such as toothpaste and groceries, and looked after in private homes. Iain and Julia moved back to Australia at the end of 2003. They described the first time they experienced Come From Away as “cathartic”.
With book, music and lyrics by David Hein and Irene Sankoff, COME FROM AWAY is directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley, choreographed by Olivier Award winner Kelly Devine (Rock of Ages, Diana), with music supervision by Ian Eisendrath (A Christmas Story, Diana), scenic design by Beowulf Boritt (Rock of Ages, Be More Chill) costume design by Toni-Leslie James (Jelly’s Last Jam), lighting design by Howell Binkley (Jersey Boys, Hamilton), sound design by Gareth Owen (Diana, A Bronx Tale).
A stellar ensemble cast brings this incredible story to life including Zoe Gertz, Sharriese Hamilton, Douglas Hansell, Kolby Kindle, Phillip Lowe, Simon Maiden, Sarah Morrison, Joseph Naim, Emma Powell, Katrina Retallick, Kellie Rode and Gene Weygandt, together with Angela Kennedy, Josh Marin, Kathleen Moore, Jensen Overend, Kilty Reidy, Ash Roussety, Alana Tranter and Jasmine Vaughns.
Internationally acclaimed COME FROM AWAY has won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical (Christopher Ashley) and four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, Best Theatre Choreographer (Kelly Devine), Best Sound Design (Gareth Owen) and Outstanding Achievement in Music.
It is also the winner of five Outer Critics Circle Awards (New York) including Outstanding New Broadway Musical; three Drama Desk Awards (New York) including Outstanding Musical; four Helen Hayes Awards (Washington, D.C) including Outstanding Production of a Musical; four Gypsy Rose Lee Awards (Seattle) including Excellence in Production of a Musical; six San Diego Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding New Musical; and four Broadway World UK awards including Best New Production of a Musical.
COME FROM AWAY has also received numerous accolades in Australia, winning the Ticketmaster ‘Ticket of the Year’ award for 2019; the Drama Victoria award for Best Performance by a Theatre Company; and five Green Room Awards, including Best Production, Best Ensemble, Best Direction (Christopher Ashley), Best Sound Design (Gareth Owen) and Luke Hunter was the recipient of Best Body of Work in Musical Direction (including his work in COME FROM AWAY).
COME FROM AWAY is produced in Australia by Junkyard Dog Productions and Rodney Rigby.
Venue: Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell Street, Haymarket.
Dates: From 3 June, 2021
Times: Tuesday 7pm; Wednesday 1pm & 7pm; Thursday 7pm; Friday 8pm;
Saturday 2pm & 8pm; Sunday 2pm & 6pm.
Tickets: Tickets from $59.00* – a handling fee from $9.20 per transaction applies
Groups: For 12 or more tickets email firstname.lastname@example.org