Come From Away lands at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre

Celebrated musical extends its Toronto run until spring

Come From Away. Toronto. Elgin Theatre. 2019.
Come From Away opened at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre Feb. 7, 2019. PJ Boyd. Toronto Observer

Celebrated Canadian musical Come From Away has opened with a special invitational dress rehearsal to an audience of friends, family and guests at its new home, The Elgin Theatre.

“This is my first time at the [Elgin] Theatre and it’s absolutely magnificent,” said cast member Amir Haidar. “Even though it’s a huge theatre, there’s an intimacy about it that’s just magical and electric. It’s truly a privilege to play in a historic and monumental theatre like this.”

Come From Away opened for a second time at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre in February 2018, after an earlier sold-out run in late 2016.

The second Toronto run of the musical, which followed its debut on Broadway, was scheduled to end on May 6, but the run was extended to Sept. 2. Following continuous sold out shows, Mirvish Productions decided to move the production to the Elgin Theatre, opening Feb. 5.

Come From Away tells the true story of 38 planes and nearly 7,000 passengers stranded at a Gander, N.L., airport on Sept. 11, 2001, after officials shut down airspace following terror attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Depicting the fear and confusion of that day, Come From Away shows how passengers were warmly welcomed and billeted by Newfoundlanders.

Haidar, who immigrated from Lebanon in 2011, said the welcoming themes of the show were mirrored in his own journey to Canada from Beirut.

He said he was privileged to see the first version of Come From Away when it was workshopped in 2012 by his classmates in the music theatre performance program at Sheridan College.

Come From Away. Toronto. Elgin Theatre. 2019.

Come From Away actor Amir Haidar, backstage before opening night at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre, Feb.  5, 2019. (Photo Courtesy of Amir Haidar)

“I’ve seen the show in New York, and in Toronto at the Royal Alex, and now at the Elgin,” said Esther Vallins-Wright, a friend to actors in the Toronto production.

“I didn’t notice a huge difference with the show being inside the new theatre, but just a continuation of a really great story,” she said.

The sounds of an excited audience filled the Elgin Theatre before the afternoon dress rehearsal. Strangers welcomed each other with words like “Where are you coming from today?” much like the protagonists in the show welcome the visitors who arrive in Newfoundland “from away.”  

Come From Away cast members invited special guests to the rehearsal, including firefighters and refugees, as part of the production’s “Come From Kindness Initiative.” Each month, the cast and crew brainstorm ideas about how to give back to the community through acts of kindness.

Come From Away can be seen at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre until June 30. Other productions of the show can be seen in New York City, London, Melbourne and on tour across North America

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Posted: Feb 8 2019 9:48 am
Filed under: Arts & Life News