‘Come From Away’ Capitalizes On Humanity, Not Tragedy

Exactly one year ago I saw Come From Away live in person. I had seen a bootleg about two years earlier and listened to the soundtrack many, many, many times, but seeing it live was so much cooler. The musical is so well done and so powerful with its simple sets and energetic cast. I had to stop listening to it at work last year because too often I was tearing up at my desk. If you don’t know what Come From Away is, I’m about to change your life, because it’s a musical about 9/11 and the several thousand people diverted to Newfoundland, Canada when the air space closed. It sounds like a dreadful musical idea, but it’s actually very sweet and uplifting because it covers how all the small-town Canadians rallied together to provide food, housing, clothing, and more to so many scared and confused travellers.

come from away logo and still.

I was in kindergarten when 9/11 happened, so I don’t remember anything about the tragedy. In that sense, I’m kind of disconnected to it because I don’t remember where I was that day or how things changed, but I think Come From Away does such a good job of conveying all the necessary emotions, so even young people can understand the gravity of the event as well as how wonderful the Newfoundlanders were.

Anyway, Come From Away has become a favourite musical of mine. So I was eager last month to get my hands on the behind-the-scenes book called Come From Away: Welcome To The Rock. It gave so much insight into the musical from the interviews the creators did to the costumes the actor wore to the grant the government issued so the show could be made, and I always love learning about stuff like that. I think I cried more times reading the book than I did seeing the show. But there was one part in the book where the mayor of Gander said some townspeople don’t love the attention Newfoundland has gotten and they think it’s a capitalization of not just the tragedy but also their involvement, which shouldn’t be a big deal. I don’t think this is a completely unfounded or unpopular opinion. I’m sure there were so many of those Newfoundlanders who didn’t think twice about helping out during that hell week. I’m sure there were many who would have been perfectly fine if they never got any recognition or thanks for their efforts. I’m sure there are New Yorkers or other people directly affected by 9/11 that aren’t thrilled that such a devastating event is being sung about for hefty theatre prices. But that doesn’t mean that Come From Away and the publicity the Canadian towns have gotten isn’t warranted, because I think the musical is so important and it’s so great that people are paying attention.

it's lowkey a huge deal gif.

Our world is full of garbage and hate and bad news. Even when good things happen, it’s often quiet or overshadowed or soon forgotten. So I’m not mad that this story stands out. This is a story that highlights kindness from strangers in a moment of global tragedy. It’s not just a 9/11 musical, it’s a kindness musical. And, as that book made clear many times, the writers were well aware of the sensitive topic and made many, many edits to ensure anyone who saw it understood that they weren’t glorifying the catastrophe and that they certainly were not in it to make money, as theater productions rarely result in big bucks. They were simply showing the pure side of humanity in the darkest hours. These were real people and real stories and real quotes, and that side should be celebrated. Especially because such kindness may not have happened anywhere else. Canada has a reputation for niceness, but I really can’t imagine my community a few provinces over coming together the way those Newfoundlanders did. I can’t imagine my parents letting strangers come in and take a shower in our house. And, it’s worth noting, this was before social media. So the Newfoundlanders weren’t vlogging it or trying to go viral with their good deeds the way some people do now. This musical is sharing stories that otherwise may never have gotten told.

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Come From Away is a show you need to see. Aside from being so creative and unique as a show, it’s very uplifting and raw. It’s still playing in NYC and Toronto and I know tours have gone to Australia and London and it’s even headed to China this year, which is so wonderful because it means the story is being shared with so many people who also didn’t know what went on in Newfoundland that week.

As a Canadian, this show made me so proud. I’m not saying every act of kindness deserves a musical from now on or that we should focus on the nice people in every tragedy. But what we should do is let this musical be a reminder that there are good people in the world and that maybe this blue and green rock floating in space isn’t as hopeless as it seems. I think the nature of our society has made us have to be a little selfish to survive, but Come From Away made me at least want to be better, tragedy or not.

If you have a chance to go see the musical, please do, because you will not regret it.

it'll change your life gif.

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: February 2019

Ah, February, the month of love. If you saw in my post about goals for the year, one was to maybe try online dating, and you’ll be pleased to know that I actually did download Tinder and am conversing with real boys, so that’s wild for me and I hope you’re all proud. Love isn’t fully in the air, but it’s a start.

Anyway, February is looking up to be a decent month for me. Here’s what I’ve got going on:

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  • For my birthday last year, my parents got me a pass to go try indoor sky diving, and for Christmas/his birthday, I got the same pass for my brother so we could go together. I also found out that our neighbours also have passes, so when everyone is home for reading week, we’re going to go. At the very least, my brother and I will go, and it looks like a really cool thing! I can’t even imagine what the sensation will feel like.
  • My parents and I are going to see Come From Away! I have been dying to see this show for almost two years, so we finally pulled the trigger and bought tickets. I’ve listened to the soundtrack dozens of times (and I cry most of the time) so I know it’s going to be a wonderful show. I am so excited!
    Come From Away logo and still.
  • I may be going to visit my best friend for a few days. I have some vacation days to use, and we’ve been talking about me going up there for years now, so I think the time is right. But nothing is confirmed yet.
  • I’m doing another curling bonspiel. I didn’t really plan on doing the club’s bigger bonspiels because they’re expensive and hardcore, but two guys I played with in one draw asked if I wanted to join their team, and I said yes. It’ll be fun. I even had to put together a costume of sorts!
  • The Oscars are on the 24th. I’ll be curling that night, but I will try to watch as much as I can. My parents and I are now trying to watch the Oscar movies (that we have an interest in seeing) so we can be ready.
  • Doom Patrol, a new show from DC, will begin on the 15th. We met most of the group in Titans, and they were enjoyable, so I have no reason not to watch this new show.
  • Ben Platt (of Pitch Perfect and Dear Evan Hansen fame) has a solo album and two of the songs are being released on the 1st. I know he has a great voice, but I’m excited to hear what kind of music he makes on his own and what the songs are about.

It’s a short month but I have a feeling it’ll fly by. January dragged on a little for me, and I did not appreciate that. Anyway, what’s your February looking like? Any fun events going on? Make your own MLA post and send it to me because I’d love to read it!

That’s all for now!

 

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7 Songs That Made Me Cry

Grab some tissues because I don’t mess around.

I’ve probably mentioned it before but I don’t cry often. Like sure, I’ll cry at series finales and when beloved characters die, but there are a lot of movies or deaths or scenes where I am not even a little weepy.

Songs are powerful, we all know that, but for a song to take a person and make them cry in approximately three minutes is insane, and especially when that person is me. But they’re so good that I keep listening and keep crying. The circle of suffering. So I figured I’d share these heartbreaking songs for two reasons. One, so you can cry with me.  And two, to introducing y’all to new music that I love. If you’re brave enough or got that waterproof mascara on, click play and listen to these songs that I managed to break through my shell and punch me in the heart.

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‘Supermarket Flowers’ by Ed Sheeran

Ed has such a lovely voice but this song is haunting. So slow and sad with those “oooooohs”. You can just hear the heartbreak. The moment that gets me: the change in tense at the end because that’s a moment, when it comes to people dying, that makes it real.

‘So Big / So Small’ from Dear Evan Hansen

Rachel Bay Jones deserves that Tony solely for this song. I’m not a mother so I can’t even relate on that level, but even imagining what this character felt in that moment makes me cry. The whole musical is about being alone as a teenager and Evan’s hardships but this is a moment where you see how much adults like his mom struggled and still struggle. The moment that gets me: when little Evan asks if another truck will take his mom away too.

‘Christmas Shoes’ by NewSong

I love Christmas music but this song is not a cheery one at all. As soon as I hear that piano at the start I know I’m in for a ride. Christmas is a time for joy and this song is a stark reminder that it’s also a time for giving and sharing because it can really make a difference. The moment that gets me: when the choir sings in the background and then when the kid sings at the end.

‘Me And The Sky’ from Come From Away

This musical is full of sad and sweet stories and moments that’ll make you tear up, but none more than this song. The first three quarters of the song are positive and inspirational (which, if I’m being honest, makes me cry a little too, but happy tears) and then it just shifts and becomes so much more and so much more real and you can’t help but cry as you hear this character’s perspective on such a tragedy. The moment that gets me: when she mentions the bomb and the music just stops.

‘If You Say So’ by Lea Michele

Okay, I was a huge Glee fan, so when Cory Monteith died, it changed everything. And then a few months later Lea Michele, his girlfriend and co-star, releases this song and it’s just so real and as a fan I can’t help but cry. His death was tragic and amid such a fun album, there’s this song that was added late but holds so much emotion. And it’s based off of their real life last conversation, so it’s even more heartbreaking. The moment that gets me: the bridge because it gets faster like a rush of emotions.

‘It’s Quiet Uptown’ from Hamilton

All the rap and revolution in this show, and then there’s this song: slow and soft and just heartbreaking. The harmonies are perfect and having the ladies sing some parts and the men sing other parts make it so much more deep. The death of a child is something no parent should go through, so having to hear Alex and Eliza go through it is just so sad. The moment that gets me: when it slows down again Angelica sings some more.

‘Piece By Piece’ by Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson has a beautiful voice and it makes this song so much more sad. When she sang this on American Idol, it was so moving. The arrangement on the piano is perfect and I’m so glad they released a studio version of it. The moment that gets me: when she sings about her daughter and how she’ll have a better life.

I’m not ashamed to admit that these songs made me and some still make me cry. They’ll probably make you cry, too after a few listens. Pay attention to the lyrics because they are what got me. And because I shared my sad songs, if you’ve got a song that makes you cry, let me know so I can listen to it. Spread the tears!

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