Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Come from Away' Co-Creators Turn Thoughts to Gander as They Celebrate Tony Win

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Come from Away' Co-Creators Turn Thoughts to Gander as They Celebrate Tony Win

Article excerpt

'Come From Away' creators reflect on Gander at Tonys

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As the married co-creators of "Come From Away" celebrated a Tony Award win, their hearts were with the people of Gander, N.L., whose uplifting stories inspired the hit homegrown musical honoured among Broadway's best.

"Come From Away" headed into Sunday night's ceremony in New York with seven nominations, including a nod for best musical.

Christopher Ashley won for best director of a musical, but the show was shut out in all other categories. "Dear Evan Hansen" emerged as the big musical winner with six awards.

Canadian co-creators Irene Sankoff and David Hein attended several Tony after-parties, including a "Come From Away" celebration and a bash at the famed Sardi's restaurant. But as the duo partied into the wee hours, they couldn't stop thinking about the residents of Gander.

"Come From Away" is set in the remote East Coast town in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Gander saw its population swell as the town sheltered 6,579 passengers and crew from 38 planes diverted when U.S. air space was closed.

"The entire night last night we were thinking about the parties that they were having out in Gander and we knew Chris was thinking exactly the same thing," Hein said in a phone interview Monday.

"They've been in our heads the entire time because (the show) was based on our interviews with them. So they've not only followed us on Facebook, and cheered us on online and in person when they come to the show, but they've been in our hearts the entire time... It's their story. It's this story about how they welcomed the world and gave the world so much."

The province made its presence felt in Radio City Music Hall during the Tonys ceremony as Sankoff and Hein noticed a Newfoundland flag waving from the rafters.

"Two lovely Newfoundlanders had come, and we all cheered and they cheered down at us and we thanked them and they thanked us," said Hein. "It was a just a lovely moment and they came down and we all hugged. …

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