Article by Leah Landron
This year for Newfield Theater Arts’ annual Broadway Trip, we saw Come From Away, a wonderful musical about a group of people forced to land in Newfoundland, Canada, after the attacks of 9/11 closed U.S. airspace. We learned how the Newfoundland residents sprung to action, setting up emergency shelters and collecting donations of clothing and other necessities for those who would be staying with them. Watching the characters form lifelong bonds was both amazing and heartwarming, and the music only added to the experience. It was an incredible tale about humanity’s capacity for kindness and compassion, and knowing the story was based on real people’s experiences made it hit even harder.
The set and stage of the musical were beautiful. Instead of the standard wings of a stage, there were layers of ceiling-tall “trees” so you could still see the small group of pit performers during the show. The cast was also small, with many people playing multiple roles, making it fun to see how outfits and acting changed for each character. The small nature of the cast and crew helped increase the feeling of intimacy and relatability in different moments of the show. You got to know the few characters well, rather than only somewhat empathizing with twenty-five different people. One of the things I loved most was when the pit musicians came on stage during the song “Heave Away/Screech In” to play music as the musicians of the local bar. It was so cool to see them play almost as a part of the cast, and, as an orchestra kid, it was nice to see them getting their chance in the spotlight.
After the musical was over, we got to meet Q. Smith, the actor who played Hannah, thanks to Ms. Meichner. We asked her some questions about the production and how she got into theater. It was a wonderful and inspiring opportunity, even to someone not planning to go into theater as a career. We learned a lot about how the musical was based on real people, and that the two characters who end up together in the show are still together in real life. She also told us a bit about her rehearsal schedule and life. Overall, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m glad we got to go, especially during COVID times, as it gave me hope that we could be nearing a light at the end of the tunnel.