DENVER (CBS4) – Based on real-life events, “Come From Away” is the story of how people came together to help those displaced in the wake of 9/11. It’s set in the small, island town of Gander, Newfoundland, where nearly 7,000 airline passengers and crew members found themselves stranded when United State airspace closed after the World Trade Center attacks. This Broadway musical is the story of kindness and generosity shown by the Canadians to their U.S. guests.
“Come From Away” plays Nov. 13 through Nov. 25 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
One of the interesting things about “Come From Away” is that it’s based on real people who feel very connected to the show. Some travel around to see it in various cities, in it’s various incarnations.
“I’ve seen the show 113 times,” said Beverly Bass, an American Airlines pilot at the time. “And I’m so honored because they portray me in such a beautiful way.”
It sounds like an unlikely fit, a musical about one of the worst tragedies in American history, but the surprise is how it’s a perfect fit.
“First we thought, ‘Well this is strange. This is probably a little bit crazy. And, where is it going to go?’ Later on, we realized it really wasn’t about 9/11. It was about 9/12, and what happened when you had a whole bunch of strangers drop out of the sky,” said Derm Flynn, a resident of Appleton, Newfoundland who helped welcome the stranded passengers.
38 airliners, carrying 6,700 passengers and crew descended on Gander, and residents from nearby Appleton and other surrounding communities, fed them, housed them, and supported them for 5-days until airspace opened up again.
“You do what you could to help them and make them feel comfortable, make them feel at home. I think it’s very important to show people that there are a lot of people out there that are hurting and they need help, and nobody knows what tomorrow will bring,” said Beulah Cooper, a Gander resident.
In amidst all the crazyiness, there is a love story. Nick and Diane Marson were both headed to Dallas for different reasons, on different life paths, but in their time in Gander they found each other, found love, and found a life together.
“It’s a love story. They meet under these fire circumstances. They have some sort of connection, and it grows over the 5-days, and by the time that they depart, there’s some real chemistry,” said Chamblee Ferguson, who plays “Nick.”
“For the longest time afterwards, we felt guilty of the love that we had found in the wake of all that disaster,” the real Nick Marson told CBS4.
At the heart of “Come From Away” is a story about the healing power of kindness and compassion.