Tuesday , April 20 2021

Mapping a trip from the La Jolla Playhouse musical from the beginning to the global success

The concept of the musical "Come From Away", produced in La Jolla Playhouse, came from a day of immense tragedy, but the creation of the program began only a decade after the terrible events of September 11.

Now, work has traveled from La Jolla to Broadway and back to California (on tour), and is now being staged overseas as well. Here's a step-by-step guide to how it all happened. (The numbers correspond to the places on the map above.)

Also be sure to check out our main part on the journey of the series, including interviews with some of the people who made it happen.

1. September 11, 2001: Following the terrorist attacks in the United States and the subsequent "ground stop" of all air traffic, 38 passenger planes carrying thousands of people are diverted to the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. The last planes finally leave five days later.

2. September 2011: Irene Sankoff and David Hein, a couple of writer-songwriters from Canada, attend a 10-year anniversary meeting of the "airplane people" in Gander, and begin interviewing them.

3. April 2012: An early version of Sankoff and Hein's "Come From Away" gets their first development staging at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, through the Canadian Music Theater Project.

4. January 2013: "Come From Away" gets more work at the Goodspeed New Music Festival in East Haddam, Connecticut.

October, 2013: The show is selected for the annual National Alliance for Musical Theater in New York and hosts a 45-minute performance. The work is then chosen by Junkyard Dog Productions, which also produced the Broadway staging of "Memphis", La Jolla Playhouse.

November 5, 2014: The world premiere of "Come From Away" is announced as part of the La Jolla Playhouse 2015-16 season, with Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley (who also directed "Memphis") at the helm. The show is a co-production with the Seattle Repertory Theater.

June 11, 2015: "Come From Away" has its official opening at the Playhouse's Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theater.

November 6, 2015: "Come From Away" opens its sequel to Seattle Rep.

September 7, 2016: The musical switches to the historic Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.

October 2016: "Come From Away" is featured in two concert performances in the town of Gander Ice Rink, for about 5,000 residents. The shows raise the whole city and bring the house down.

November 2016: The show opens at the Royal Alexandra Theater in Toronto, its final production before Broadway.

February 4, 2017: The cast returns briefly to San Diego for a concert performance at the La Jolla Playhouse party.

March 12, 2017: "Come From Away" officially opens on Broadway (where it continues to run).

June 11, 2017: The show – nominated for seven Tony Awards – won one for Ashley as best director of a musical.

October 2017: The Broadway production of "Come From Away" recovers its $ 12 million investment.

February 2018: "Come From Away" returns to Toronto for an extended "sit-down" production.

October 2018: The show's first national tour begins at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle.

November 8, 2018: "Come From Away" returns to Southern California for the first time since the Playhouse's world premiere, opening a six-week stop at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. (The tour will also make stops in San Francisco in January and in Costa Mesa in February, but no commitment from San Diego is scheduled.)

December 9, 2018: "Come From Away" is set to open a race in Dublin, Ireland, before heading to London's West End.

10. 2019: The productions are scheduled to open in London and Melbourne, Australia.

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Twitter: @jimhebert

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