Come from Away is a Canadian musical that takes you to the heart of the story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town of Newfoundland after the attacks of 9-11. Their residents put their lives on hold and opened their homes to complete strangers as cultures clashed and their nerves run high, as the play description explains, they transformed these emotions into “trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.”
But what does a play have to do with global issues? Well this Broadway show as Canada’s Prime Minister said, shows “what it is to lean on each other and be there for each other through the darkest times.”
Soon after this, Louis Charbonneau, the United Nations director at Human Rights Watch gave the show a chance, so he could understand how Ivanka Trump, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Mr. Trudeau felt during the play.
Even is Ivanka Trump described it as “a moving tribute to our international community coming together after 9-11,” Charbonneau asked himself whether she or Haley “felt a pang of guilt for supporting an administration that continues to traffic in xenophobia and fight for its indefensible travel ban in the courts.”
“I’d like to think they identified, for at least a few minutes, with those residents of Gander who fed and housed the strangers from the US and elsewhere for five unusual days in September 2001, a brief moment when the shoe was on the other foot and it was US citizens who found themselves dependent on the kindness of Canadian strangers.
Meanwhile, Ben Brantley from New York Times argues this is a show most New Yorkers would run to avoid. “But we are now in a moment in which millions of immigrants are homeless and denied entry to increasingly xenophobic nations, including the United States. A tale of an insular populace that doesn’t think twice before opening its arms to an international throng of strangers automatically acquires a near-utopian nimbus.”
The musical written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein and directed by Christopher Ashley is being performed at the Gerald Schoenfield Theater.
As Charbonneau calls it, this is a musical that celebrates kindness towards strangers in difficult times for the United States.