Friday, September 22, 2023

Welcome To the Rock: “Come From Away” performs at TPAC 


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Story by Stephanie Hall | Contributing Writer

Photos courtesy of TPAC

Tennessee Performing Arts Center held the touring production of the Broadway musical, “Come From Away.” 

The musical follows the true story of the small Canadian town of Gander and the passengers of many airplanes that had to make emergency landings there during and after 9/11. 
The theatre was packed on opening night, with many people who probably remember 9/11 and know what the characters are feeling. 
The show is very humorous throughout, taking advantage of everyday life and making it funny. However, there are moments throughout where the show punches you with the reminder that 9/11 just happened and everyone is scared. 
The set is simple, with only a couple of tables and chairs, surrounded by trees. Behind the trees, the band is playing throughout. The band feels like they are part of the town, as they come out of the trees during town jam sessions. 

The First North American Tour Company of “Come From Away” in 2018. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Throughout, the cast of 12 switched between townspeople and people who just arrived by plane plus many others. Somehow, the cast brings to life more people than there are on stage. 

The choreography is amazing as well, taking the Irish folk sound of the music and bringing a lively dance. It had the audience clapping along, as if they were a part of the town as much as the characters. 
Janice (played by Julia Knitel) was the news reporter whose first day was covering 9/11. Knitel had many funny lines, often being the one who had people laughing the hardest. 
“Me and The Sky” was a beautiful song sung by Captain Beverly (played by Marika Aubrey). Aubrey has a beautiful voice and when the female company joined with her. It starts out as an amazing song about her becoming the first female captain for American Airlines. There is then a traumatic change at the end, as she thinks about how a plane, the thing she loves most, was used as the bomb during 9/11.  
“Come From Away” doesn’t shy away from the experience many Middle Eastern people faced after 9/11. Ali, (played by Rick Duckart) is constantly shown being stopped and searched, with everyone being afraid and angry of him. However, the show also shares the kindness that the people of Gander showed towards everyone, including Ali. Duckart did an amazing job with him, showing the fear and frustration that many Muslims felt. 
As the 2021-2022 Broadway at TPAC is about to end with Oklahoma! next month, “Come From Away” tells a beautiful story of community and coming together. 
“Come From Away” is playing from April 19-24 in TPAC’s Jackson Hall. To purchase tickets, visit TPAC’s website.

A special thanks to TPAC Public Relations Director Danielle Allen

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News 

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