Come From Away chronicles the real-life experiences of the people of Gander, Newfoundland, and the almost 7000 airline passengers who were forced to land there when US air space was closed on September 11, 2001. Twelve actors tell the story of both the Islanders and the Plane People, revealing the fear and uncertainty that came with the terrorist attacks – as well as the profound generosity and compassion of strangers. While some characters and stories are an amalgamation of several people and experiences, others are grounded in true people, such as Captain Beverly Bass, the first female captain for American Airlines; Kevin Tuerff and Kevin Jung, the couple from LA; and Nick and Diane, the couple who met in Gander.
The music of Come From Away blends both traditional musical theatre styles (“Me and the Sky,” “Stop the World”) as well as traditional Newfoundland orchestrations (“Heave Away,” “Screech In”). The Islanders are distinguished from the Plane People by their use of a Newfoundland dialect, which they point out in “Welcome to the Rock.” Along with acting out the events of the four days, characters step out from the story to narrate the events. Staging is minimal, making use of only a few tables and twelve chairs to be the airplanes, the buses, and the various locations within Gander.
The creators of Come From Away have stated that this is not a September 11th story, it is rather a September 12th story - a story of the best people have to offer each other, and a reminder that we are all capable of doing good for each other, especially in the darkest of times.