The Tony-award winning musical “Come From Away” came to Omaha this past week and recounted the incredibly complex and affecting moments that surrounded the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. 

The musical drew on the perspectives of both locals of Gander on the island of Newfoundland and the thousands of passengers stuck there whose flights were grounded amidst the confusion and attempts at heightened national security. 

For many, the events of that day strike a deeply personal, terribly specific chord of emotions, often culminating in that ever-present question, “Where were you when it happened?”

“I’d kind of got caught up on what had happened, and my first instincts were about connecting here at home with my family and with my friends just to be sure…that everybody was safe,” said Barron Breland, associate professor and chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. 

Breland had the opportunity to see the show on Broadway alongside the Chamber Choir during their spring tour. 

“It was a completely different viewpoint on looking in at America on 9/11…what was kind of interesting about ‘Come From Away’ was adding actual musical elements of Newfoundland into the score, so you get to hear music about universal themes set around 9/11, but without the lens of a kind of Americana on it,” Breland said. 

Even for those too young to remember much, the tragedy of the day is represented in the play. 

“I think the show did a really great job at sharing unknown stories,” said Vivian Parr, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. “I’m an advocate for sharing true stories on stage…we don’t always need to make up things because real life has a lot of believable and authentic stories.” 

Omaha Performing Arts was similarly happy to present these perspectives to the public in programming “Come From Away” to tour at The Orpheum Theatre. 

“Come From Away’ is one of those shows that is universally important,” said Talia Fittante, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences and an Education Intern for Omaha Performing Arts. “I think that the employees at Omaha Performing Arts feel that excitement along with the outpouring of love from audiences.”

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