As far as “9/11 musicals” go, few have been more successful, or critically well-regarded, as Canadian production Come From Away. Originally workshopped back in 2012—and making its Broadway debut in 2017—the Tony-winning musical tells the stories of some of the thousands of people whose planes were diverted to a small town in Newfoundland on September 11, 2001, and of the townsfolk’s efforts to aid and comfort the massive influx of shocked strangers.
Now, said story of connection in the face of tragedy is set to arrive before a much wider audience, with Apple TV+ preparing to air a filmed version of the show, starring Petrina Bromley, Jenn Colella, De’Lon Grant, and several more, and directed by Christopher Ashley. The streamer released a new trailer for the film earlier today, showing off its minimalist set design and sense of general good cheer as (to quote the press release) “the passengers and locals alike process what’s happened while finding love, laughter and new hope in the unlikely and lasting bonds that they forge.”
Come From Away was actually supposed to get a full filmed adaptation, a la the recent In The Heights, with plans in place to actually film in the small town of Gander. COVID scotched that plan, though, and so this compromise was developed, bringing back most of the Broadway cast to film a version of the show at New York’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.
In terms of actual critique, it’s genuinely hard to pull anything from the trailer: The few jokes on display all seem funny enough, and the snippets of music we get are inspiring, if anonymous. And, honestly, it’s a phenomenally hard project to critique: The whole thing is suffused with so much wholesome “we’re all in this together” good cheer that you pretty much either have to embrace it fully, or risk being labeled a cynical grump.
In any case: Come From Away airs on Apple TV+ on September 10, one day before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.