The NYC trip seems so long ago now.... As I mentioned before, the highlight for me is always the Broadway shows. Come From Away was our first show and 43 of us from the group attended, anxious to see this wonderful Canadian story. And what a treat it was. Written by Canadian husband and wife team David Hein and Irene Sankoff, it tells the true story of small town Gander Newfoundland that welcomed nearly 7000 stranded passengers from 38 diverted flights after 9/11. Nominated for a number of awards including 7 Tonys, it has won a Tony for Best Direction (WELL deserved, Christopher Ashley!) 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding New Broadway Musical, 4 Helen Hayes Awards including Best Musical, 3 Drama Desk Awards also including Best Musical and a number of Dora Awards in Toronto including Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Musical and the Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award. Whew! Actress Jenn Colella who portrays Beverley Bass, the first female pilot to make Captain with American Airlines, has also picked up several Best Actress awards. Each actor/actress portrays at least two real characters - a Gander resident and an airline passenger, and each character represents an actual person or a compilation of several persons. They do such an amazing job of this, often so well that it is well into the show before you realize that two different characters are actually the same actor.
|Tony signing a Playbill|
"Learn About the True Story." At the very least watch the videos of pilot Beverley Bass and Gander Mayor Claude Elliott. Many other video clips and Youtube clips will be available to you - hours of entertainment well worth the watch. Trust me, you'll be itching to see this show! Good news for my fellow Canadians - it is returning to Toronto in 2018 and you can be sure I'll be be there to see it again! (Mark, I'll be reserving your couch.)
The other thing which made this show so special was that we have a "hometown boy" in the show. Tony LePage is an understudy and sadly he was not onstage that night but he did meet our group in the theatre after the show and we enjoyed chatting with him about his experiences with this fabulous production. That made for a special ending to the night. (And since I set up the meeting with him, I got a big hug from Tony! Now tell me, how many of you can say you've been hugged by a Broadway actor?? lol) I know all 43 of us left the Schoenfeld Theatre that night VERY proud to be Canadian!
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, another excellent show. Carole King has long been a favourite of mine; her album Tapestry was the first album I ever bought (1971) and I think I wore it out! I knew every word to every song, and still do. She was a successful songwriter long before she began her career as a performer. I had no idea she and husband Gerry Goffin were so prolific, with hundreds of hits for many big rock and roll acts. To date more than 400 of her compositions have been recorded by over 1000 artists! Being such a fan I enjoyed every minute of this show and every note of the score.
Our final night's show was Phantom of the Opera - you have to finish a New York visit with an "over the top" performance! Phantom has it all- not only a fabulous love story, but the music, the costumes, the set, the special effects and of course the beautiful theatre. It's pretty hard to top the Majestic! It is so beautiful, it's not hard at all to imagine that you are actually in the Paris Opera House. The Majestic is 90 years old (see the theatre here) and has been home to many Broadway successes such as Carousel, South Pacific, Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof and The Wiz. Phantom, now in its 30th year, is the longest running show on Broadway, with over 12,100 performances to date. I've seen it three times, and love it more each time.
Ahhh Broadway, I can't wait to come back for more!
"To enter a theatre for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination." ~ Simon Callow