Melbourne’s love affair with world-wide smash hit musical Come From Away concludes on a triumphant note this weekend as the production breaks its own record that was set in January 2020 for the highest weekly box office in the Comedy Theatre’s 92 year history.
Surpassing the weekly box office records of all other productions staged at the theatre since it opened in 1928, it is playing to full houses for its final week of performances.
“Melbourne will always hold a special place in the hearts of the Come From Away family; as a city, it embraced our story of unity and compassion from the beginning, resulting in breaking box office and attendance figures for the Comedy Theatre along the way,” said Producer Rodney Rigby. “We now look forward to sharing our inspiring production with audiences in Brisbane and Sydney.”
In a much-needed boon to the industry, the encore production created 447 jobs over its nine-week encore season, bringing many in the creative industry back to work for the first time since March 2020, and providing substantial stimulus to the economy and the East End of Melbourne.
After taking Melbourne by storm when it premiered in July 2019, Come From Away enjoyed nine months of critical acclaim and standing ovations, becoming the most successful production in the Comedy Theatre’s 91-year history, before it was forced to close early due to the threat of COVID-19. The production returned on 19 January 2021 for a limited encore season.
Come From Away follows the incredible real-life journey of 7,000 air passengers who became grounded in Gander, Newfoundland in Canada in the wake of the September 11 tragedy. The small community that welcomed the ‘come from aways’ into their lives provided hope and compassion to those in need.
Award-winning husband and wife duo David Hein and Irene Sankoff (book, music and lyrics), travelled to Newfoundland and interviewed thousands of locals, compiling their stories to share with the world.
In 2020, the musical added to its international award tally with five Green Room awards including Best Production and Best Ensemble. In 2019, along with being voted Ticketmaster’s “Ticket of the Year” by Australian audiences, the musical won four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, Best Theatre Choreographer, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Achievement in Music, along with four Broadway World UK awards.
Come From Away is directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley (Diana, Memphis), choreographed by Olivier Award Winner Kelly Devine (Diana, Rock of Ages, Rocky), with music supervision by Ian Eisendrath (A Christmas Story, Diana), scenic design by Beowulf Boritt (Act One, Rock of Ages, Be More Chill), costume design by Toni-Leslie James (Jelly’s Last Jam), lighting design by Howell Binkley (Jersey Boys, Hamilton), and sound design by Gareth Owen (Diana, A Bronx Tale).
The cast includes includes Joseph Naim, Phillip Loew, Zoe Gertz, Sharriese Hamilton, Douglas Hansell, Kolby Kindle, Simon Maiden, Sarah Morrison, Gene Weygandt, Emma Powell, Katrina Retallick and Kellie Rode, together with Angela Kennedy, Kathleen Moore, Jensen Overend, Kilty Reidy, Ash Roussety, Alana Tranter, Josh Marin and Jasmine Vaughns.
“Come From Away is a wonderful, moving, and fun celebration of a true story and the power of community; a marvellous theatrical hot water bottle on a late winter Melbourne night and is an absolute must-see.” – David Collins, Australian Arts Review
Come From Away will play Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre – QPAC from 26 March and Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from 3 June 2021. For more information, and to book tickets, visit: www.comefromaway.com.au for details.
Image: Come From Away (supplied)