''Come From Away'' readies for 9 11 anniversary by giving back

By Mark Kennedy
     New York, Sep 9 (AP) This Sunday, the cast and crew of the Broadway musical “Come From Away” have an appointment, as usual, with an aircraft carrier.
    Every year on Septeber 11, they help box thousands of meals for food banks across the city and perform for the volunteers aboard the US S. Intrepid.
    “9/11 was a worldwide event. It was a time when we all felt helpless, and it was a time when we all wanted to help. And I think those sentiments continue right now,” said David Hein, who with his wife, Irene Sankoff, wrote the book, music and lyrics to “Come From Away.”
    The musical is set in the small Newfoundland town of Gander, which opened its arms to some 7,000 airline passengers diverted there when the US government shut down airspace during 9/11.
    In a matter of a few hours, the town was overwhelmed by 38 planeloads of travellers from dozens of countries and religions, yet locals went to work in their kitchens and cleaned up spare rooms to offer space and food to the newcomers.
    This year's visit to the Intrepid by the New York cast will be bittersweet; it's the last time the show will send representatives from Broadway. The show closes October 2 after a five-year run.
    But it's fitting that one of its last acts will be giving. Few shows have left such a legacy of connecting with the community — concerts for cancer victims, fundraisers for farmers facing drought and even cast members handing out dollar bills to the needy in the New York subway.
    “It's been incredible to see us be inspired by the Newfoundlanders and then have this story inspire other people to do even more good,” says Hein.
     "It's humbling to see that Shakespeare quote in action: How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.'”
    Giving back was baked into the show since the first workshop at Sheridan College in Ontario, where a hat was passed to raise money for animal shelters overwhelmed with new kittens. A benefit concert planned for later this month at the Gander airport will do the same “because kittens never stop,” Hein says, laughing. (AP) PY
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(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)