COME FROM AWAY (National Tour)Junkyard Dog Productions, La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theater present:
COME FROM AWAY (National Tour)
Book, Music and Lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Dallas Summer Musicals
Director – Christopher Ashley
Music Staging – Kelly Devine
Music Supervision – Ian Eisendrath
Scenic Design – Beowulf Boritt
Costume Design – Toni-Leslie James
Lighting Design – Howell Brinkley
Sound Design – Gareth Owen
Orchestration – August Eriksmoen
Arrangements – Ian Eisendrath
Music Coordinator – David Lai
Hair Design – David Brain Brown
Casting – The Telsey Office - Rachel Hoffman, C.S.A.
Dialect Coach – Joel Goldes
Tour Booking Agency – The Booking Group, Meredith Blair, Kara Gebhart
Marketing Strategy and Direction – On The Rialto
Tour Press and Marketing – Anita Dloniak & Associates, Inc.
General Management – Alchemy Production Group
Production Management – Juniper Street Productions, Inc.
Company Manager – Erik Birkeland
Production Stage Manager – Shawn Pennington
Dance Captain – Jane Bunting
Bonnie/others - Sharone Sayegh
Oz/others - Harter Clingman
Beverly/Annette/others - Marika Aubrey
Janice/others - Julia Knitel
Bob/others - James Earl Jones, II
Claude/others - Kevin Carolan
Kevin T/Garth/others - Jeremy Woodard
Nick/Doug/others - Chamblee Ferguson
Kevin J/Ali/others - Nick Duckart
Hannah/others - Danielle K. Thomas
Beulah/others - Julie Johnson
Diane/others - Christine Toy Johnson
Beulah, Hannah, Diane, Bonnie, Beverly - Amelia Cormack
Beverly, Diane, Hannah, Janice, Beulah - Jenny Ashman
Bonnie, Janice, Beverly, Beulah, Diane - Jane Bunting
Kevin T., Oz, Kevin J., Nick, Claude - Brandon Springman
Nick, Claude, Bob, Oz, Kevin T, - Kilty Reidy
Bob, Kevin J., Kevin T., Oz, Claude - Aaron Michael Ray
Conductor/keyboard/Accordion/Harmonium – Cameron Moncur
Whistles/Irish Flute/Uilleann Pipes – Isaac Alderson
Fiddle – Kiana June Weber
Electric/Acoustic Guitars – Billy Bivona
Acoustic Guitar/Mandolins/Bouzouki – Martin Howley
Electric/Acoustic Bass – Sean Rubin
Bodhran/Percussion – Steve Holloway
Drums/Percussion – Joseph Mowatt
Music Director – Cameron Moncur
Associate Music Director – Myrna Conn
Electronic Music Design – Andrew Barrett for Lionella Music, LLC
Music Preparation – Zach Redler, Ryan Driscoll
Reviewed Performance: 3/9/2022
Reviewed by Carla Wicks, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
The playwrights - Irene Sankoff and David Hein captured the atmosphere of that day and the days that followed, with accuracy throughout the script. Under the direction of Christopher Ashley, he was able to navigate the actors and allow them to communicate the emotions of the residents of Gander as well as those of the passengers and crew who found respite at a destination, not of their choosing. Every detail in this musical conveyed to the audience the power of each simplistic detail of human life and much more. The smallest things you wouldn’t think would be relevant were brought to mind. Each word was carefully placed in both lyric and spoke dialogue to ensure the audience followed the story sequentially and allowed for the rise and fall of emotions throughout. Making this feat even more difficult where the actors’ constant movement. The audience could not help but be caught up in the whirlwind of tension, which arose in the hearts of the individuals being portrayed. Interspersed were comic scenes and heart-wrenching snapshots. It was an astronomical undertaking and it played superbly. Due to the format of the production, it served well to not break the mood and storyline with an intermission. The hour and forty minutes seemed to fly by as audience members were captured away into this story.
The Actors: Bonnie/others played by Sharone Sayegh, Oz/others played by Harter Clingman, Beverly/Annette/others played by Marika Aubrey, Janice/others played by Julia Knitel, Bob/others played by James Earl Jones, II, Claude/others played by Kevin Carolan, Kevin T/Garth/others played by Jeremy Woodard, Nick/Doug/others played by Chamblee Ferguson, Kevin J/Ali/others played by Nick Duckart, Hannah/others played by Danielle K. Thomas, Beulah/others played by Julie Johnson, Diane/others played by Christine Toy Johnson all played multiple roles and personalities in the retelling of this difficult few days. They each brought the required energy needed for the production of this format. Each one owned their respective roles and brilliantly portrayed that person’s sense of self, mental attitudes, and raw emotions respective to the unfolding trauma in real-time. Each actor stayed in a specific character whether portraying an arriving passenger or a character from the small town - a place many have never visited or know anything much about its residents. Taking on the dialect and feel of the people of Gander is one thing but then to move seamlessly back and forth, to the character of the passenger they played from various nations around the globe, reflects precision in the mental acuity of each performer. It was remarkable how easy this appeared to the audience, how authentic and displayed artistry embodied in each actor. Total believability in their role, the lines delivered, the solos were sung, and all delivered in rapid fashion. This allowed the audience to experience the atmosphere of Gander and the character’s country of actual residency. All seen in the mannerisms, body stance, facial connections, expressions, and inflicted speech. The vocal delivery, dialect, and accent were superb and on point as evidence of the Dialect Coach Joel Goldes. As an audience member, I was easily transported to that time, in those situations and feeling the inner turmoil with each actor on stage. Every spoken line is delivered with passion and lyrics sung with fervor and strength. There was no weak link with the twelve actors. They rose to the height of their craft and then went above that to make sure the audience went along on this journey with them. Even though we didn’t see the standbys: Amelia Cormack, Jenny Ashman, Jane Bunting, Brandon Springman, Kilty Reidy, and Aaron Michael Ray, I give special hats off because they each had to prepare for five roles and could be summoned at a moment’s notice to step into that role. This is a huge undertaking considering not only the memorization required but also the respective blocking with set movement, the different dialects, and the posture of character. This eighteen-member cast represents the finest I’ve seen in musical theater and deserves all the accolades this production receives. Superb is a shallow word for their stellar performances. Simply magnificent, Bravo!
The Set Design by Beowulf Boritt was stunning while simple. The backdrop was transformed to incorporate doors and different aspects of the performance location. The furniture while eclectic and simple provided just the right touch. The set did not overpower the production and was concise enough to be moved easily by the actors and at times unnoticeable to the audience. At first, I thought the musicians, onstage in the back corner, were misplaced until I saw their entrance on various musical numbers and it stood out as remarkable. The use of each item on the set worked well in the story and served multiple uses. The audience would never question when being transported from airplane to city and other locations that a simple chair could be transformed in all places and not be odd or out of place. I was overjoyed at the simplistic set and how easily it adapted to the production. When Act I began, I wondered if the audience on the wings would experience the full set or miss something due to sight angles but that was not an issue as everyone in the venue was able to see the entire set and movements throughout the production. Even the rotating floor served to move the story along, its timing well suited for use at various places in the production. I say a great job to the Set Design, the attention to details, and not overdoing to preclude cast movement and story flow.
The Music team for this production: Cameron Moncur, Director, Myrna Conn, Associate Music Director, David Lai, Music Coordinator, Jan Eisendrath, Music Supervisor and Kelly Devine, Music Staging combined to provide the undergirding support for the entire production. The music drove the dialogue and ebbed and flowed to support the actors and their portrayal of the story. The Musicians: Isaac Alderson, Kiana June Weber, Billy Bivona, Martin Howley, Sean Rubin, Steve Holloway, and Joseph Mowatt delivered on the music and their performance was delightful even to include their small concert post bows. It was refreshing and left the audience clapping in time and tapping their toes. The score mixed tunes appropriately with a nice balance based on the story flow. The absolute joy in the music and the level of enthusiasm from each instrumentalist was brilliant and set a tone and emotional response, which warmed the heart and soul. They took the music of the score and made it powerful when needed and calming at other times. It provided a delightful blend of intensity and emotion. It supported the actors with solos very well and made the musical experience one of great value and enjoyment. Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen supported the musical score allowing the placement of songs to flow well with the storyline and making the show beyond top notch. The underpinning of the success in musical delivery can never be understated based on how it must be received to elicit the desired outcome for the audience. This music did that on a level hard to achieve with the constant flow of this production. How overwhelmingly wonderful it was to experience. Great job!
While the Lighting Design by Howell Binkley and Sound Design by Gareth Owen, was showcased in the various aspects of the performers’ movement it was on point and precise. Capturing the illuminated glow of passenger’s faces on the airplane to the individual spots on stage for solos, the audience was taken across the stage effortlessly so as to give other actors the time and privacy to move positions and set pieces. There was not a single place where I felt the lighting was too much or too little. The balance from the side of the stage to the center and back moved well with the action on stage. The sound levels were adequate and each performer had microphones balanced for their voice and tone. The blending was done very well. The balance between music levels and voices worked harmoniously. Good job throughout the performance.
The Costume Design by Toni-Leslie James and Hair Design by David Brian Brown were modest but captured the individual actor’s stance in life. From work attire to casual, young individual to more mature, the actors were able to flow in and out of costume pieces to accentuate their character, job, and lifestyle. The thought involved in the design and orchestration effect was brilliant.
Dance Captain Jane Bunting did a spectacular job of movement and positioning for each facet of the production allowing all actors to be seen at any given time in any musical number. The choreography was probably most noticeable in a musical of this nature when movement is paramount and happening constantly. Not one missed cue from onboard the airplane-seated synchronization, riding the bus to town, to musical dance numbers – the skill and precision to pull this off were magical. Nothing was overdone or pulled focus for the story or individual actor delivering lines. A true art form in delivery, steps, and motion. Moving twelve actors onstage for the entire show is worthy of high praise.
Could not complete a review without mentioning the behind-the-scenes work of Stage Manager – Shawn Pennington, and Company Manager Erik Birkeland who make sure props are maintained, cast are in ready places for the show, and cue all the other aspects that make a production happen. They are truly the glue that holds it all together and maintain the working wheels behind the set to ensure a quality production of each and every curtain up. Well done backstage crew.
The Music Hall venue was well fitted for this show. The seats were comfortable and there were adequate sight lines for each audience member. The acoustics were good and balanced. The entire experience from arrival to departure was excellent. The trams that took you from car to door and then returned you at the end of the show were a welcome feature. The staff was kind and hospitable. The ticketing process at check-in was simple and easy. The overall atmosphere in the Music Hall was welcoming, soothing, and warm.
My overall experience was beyond what I was expecting and every detail was well done and enjoyed. I have not one reservation with encouraging people to make sure this production is on their list of must-see. The talent in all aspects of this production will make theatergoers appreciate live theater in a whole new way. COME FROM AWAY warms the soul and brings smiles to faces young and old and tells a story we all shall remember every time we hear “9/11”.
Reviewed by Carla Wicks, Associate Critic for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN
Music Hall at Fair Park - 909 1st Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210
Plays through March 20, 2022.
Performances (1 hr. 40 min. with no intermission) -Sat., Mar. 12, 1:30pm and 7:30pm, Sun., Mar. 13, 1:30pm and 7:30Tue., Mar. 15, 7:30pm (Best Availability), Wed., Mar. 16, 7:30pm (Best Availability), Thu., Mar. 17, 7:30pm (Best Availability), Fri., Mar. 18, 7:30pm, Sat., Mar. 19, 1:30pm ASL and 7:30pm, Sun., Mar. 20, 1:30pm, Sun., Mar. 20, 7:30pm
Single tickets for COME FROM AWAY start at $25 (pricing subject to change) and are on sale now at https://dallassummermusicals.org/shows/come-from-away/
or by phone 800-982-2787. Orders for groups of ten (10) or more may be placed by calling (214) 426-4768 or email to: Groups@DallasSummerMusicals.org.