Review: COME FROM AWAY Lands at Ohio Theater

Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

Nominated for seven Tony Awards in 2017 and winner for Best Direction in a Musical by Christopher Ashley’s Extraordinary Direction, Come From Away landed in Columbus at the Ohio Theater on Tuesday night to a welcoming and spirited audience.

The musical is a true story of 7,000 air passengers on 38 planes that were redirected to a small town of 9,000 people in Gander on the island of Newfoundland, Canada during the September 11 terrorist attacks. During an intimate discussion at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium last December, the producer Sue Frost said, “It’s not a 9/11 story – it’s a 9/12 story real people, how we act and take care of each other…it’s a very complicated, complicated, simple show.”

And that’s exactly what it was. An uplifting and heartwarming presentation of the human spirit and what we are capable of in the midst of tragedy. Woven with laughter, tears, Irish folk songs, Celtic dancing and life-saving bonobos (one of which was heading for the Columbus Zoo), Come From Away goes to the heart of humanity, of hope, of generosity and resilience.

Just as you tear through memories of 9/11, actors have a way of changing course through words, laughs, or songs that immediately create a new direction. “Let’s face it… It’s a taboo moment that no one wants to relive,” says one of the actors. Yet, amid the chaos and the unknown, there is hope and determination. “A pilot will fight to the end of the earth to save his plane…”

COME FROM AWAY is an ensemble production, which further supports the theme of harmony. There is not a single performer that stands out, not a single song that stands out, not a single dance that stands out. All work together in uniform to create a flawless production in the midst of an imperfect society.

Now with over 1,400 Broadway performances, Come From Away has successfully reached audiences around the world, including Canada, Ireland, London, Sydney and the United States. Spreading kindness and giving back to the community has always been a staple of the show. In October 2016, the company performed two benefit concerts in Gander where 100% of ticket sales benefited local Newfoundland charities. Ongoing activities include the 9/11 Day of Service, Project Daffodil and various benefit concerts. 2021 was especially significant as the cast commemorated the 20th anniversary of the lives lost and found in the 9/11 attacks. An entire year full of initiatives designed to “spread love, appreciation, understanding and kindness to all who come from afar”, which is truly an extraordinary feat in today’s world.

Come from afar
Gander and Unga
Photo credit: Amanda Carberry,
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

In the poster, you will find an insert on the remarkable journey of the bonobos and more particularly on the link between Unga and the Columbus Zoo. Sadly, she passed away from heart disease in 2021, but her legacy lives on through her two children (Jerry and Gander) who remain in the care of the Columbus Zoo. You can support the remaining bonobos by contributing to their care at 100% of donations support daily care and enrichment activities for endangered species.

Come to the Ohio Theater until February 13 to experience Come From Away, this exceptional and heartwarming true story that will truly enrich your life. Tickets are selling out fast so get yours now! Tickets start at $39 and can be purchased in person at the CBUSArts Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.comor by phone at (614) 469-0939.

To learn more about the Come From Away Special Event and Intimate Roundtable at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium held in early December 2021, please visit: Feature: “Bobobos on Broadway” – A special connection between COME FROM AWAY and the Columbus Zoo (


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