Entertainment & Arts

'9/11 musical' Come From Away heads across Atlantic

The original Broadway cast of Come From Away Image copyright Matthew Murphy
Image caption The show tells of strangers becoming friends after being stranded in Canada

The producers of a musical inspired by the 9/11 attacks have described it as "a celebration of the best of human kind" as it heads across the Atlantic.

Come From Away tells how a small town in Newfoundland welcomed some 7,000 air travellers stranded in Canada after the US closed its airspace in 2001.

"We call it a 9/12 musical," producer Joseph Smith told the BBC. "It's about what happened afterwards."

The show opened on Broadway in 2017 and comes to London's West End next year.

Before that, the Tony-winning musical will play at Dublin's Abbey Theatre from 6 December to 19 January.

At a launch event at Canada House in London on Wednesday, the show's writers said it was "a story about people coming together".

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Media captionCan you create a feel-good 9/11 musical?

"People around the world are hungry for stories about kindness," said David Kein in a video message. "We can't wait to share it with the world."

"It seems to not have the makings of a musical, but in this day and age stories of hope and friendship are more relevant than ever," Smith continued.

"The show is not specifically about 9/11 but a parallel story that talks about hope, humanity and everything good that can come out of something so horrific."

Rachel Tucker, whose roles in the show include an American Airlines pilot ordered to land at Gander International Airport in Newfoundland, said watching the US production recently had left her "floored".

"For me, it's about the real beauty of humanity and how people can come together in a tragedy like this," said the Northern Irish actress, one of the finalists on I'd Do Anything in 2008.

Image copyright Helen Maybanks
Image caption The show's West End cast was announced on Wednesday

Smith admitted audiences in New York had been initially "wary" of the show but said it had enabled them "to tap into their unresolved emotions" about the attacks their city suffered in September 2001.

"Everyone of a certain age knows where they were that day, but the story we're trying to tell is how things started to gradually change for the better," he went on.

First staged in Ontario in 2013, Come From Away has gone on to be performed in San Diego, Seattle, Washington and Toronto as well as on Broadway.

Its West End production begins previews at the Phoenix Theatre in London on 30 January.

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