When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an official visit to the United States in March of 2017, he took First Lady Ivanka Trump to a Broadway show. It was only weeks after the Trump Administration had sought to install a travel ban against several Middle Eastern countries, one of several early policies that was creating friction between the U.S. and Canada, a country known for its open-armed stance towards refugees. So when Trudeau brought Ivanka to the musical Come From Away, the choice felt far from coincidental. Come From Away tells the story of the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, in the weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 38 planes and 7,000 travelers were sent to Gander, and the play depicts the kindness and hospitality the townspeople displayed towards their unwitting guests.
Come From Away has experienced a whirlwind rise to the prominence it currently enjoys on Broadway. First staged at Ontario’s Oakville College in 2012, the show quickly established itself as a tour de force with stunningly successful runs in Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Toronto. It arrived on Broadway in March 2017, earning a Critic’s Pick designation from the New York Times’ Ben Brantley. “Come From Away...pushes so many emotional buttons that you wind up feeling like an accordion,” Brantley wrote. That does not mean that you’ll leave thinking you have been played.” The show was nominated for seven Tony Awards, earning a Best Direction of a Musical award for Christopher Ashley.