Come From Away Confirms Incredible Cast for Gander ProductionBy Newfoundland & Labrador
Michael Rubinoff and the Arts and Culture Centres have announced a thrilling cast for acclaimed director Jillian Keiley’s new production of Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s Come From Away, set to run July 7 to September 3, 2023, at the Joseph R Smallwood Arts and Culture Centre in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador. Original Broadway cast members Petrina Bromley and Astrid Van Wieren, amongst other national and international Come From Away alumni, will join a multitude of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, including Ryan Alexander, Clint Butler, Kate Etienne, Jacquelyn French, Peter Halley, Timothy Matson, Shelley Neville and Alison Woolridge.
Ryan Alexander will return home to the Gander Arts and Culture Centre, the first stage he ever performed on, in the role of Garth. His character is the head of the local union representing the bus drivers that were on strike at the time. Ryan has built an extensive portfolio for himself and has performed over a dozen professional roles both in the UK and in Canada. Having previously met producer Michael Rubinoff in the audition process for Sheridan College years ago, when the opportunity arose for Ryan to join this cast, he was ecstatic.
Fellow Newfoundlander and Labradorian, Petrina Bromley has been along for the entire run of Come From Away, from its opening night in La Jolla in 2015, to starring in the film capture of the musical on Apple TV+ released in 2021. After performing for more than five years on Broadway in the role of Bonnie, the head of the Gander SPCA, she now joins the new Come From Away cast as Captain Beverley Bass. Beverley is an American aircraft pilot and was the first female captain of an American Airlines commercial plane.
Like Petrina, Astrid Van Wieren is also an original member of the Come From Away cast. Astrid, who previously played Beulah (the head of the Gander Legion), will now be playing the character of Diane when the production hits the Joseph R Smallwood stage. Diane is one of the many passengers that gets stranded in Gander and is transformed by the experience.
In a recent interview, all three cast members agreed that this production of Come From Away will be special and unlike any other. Petrina, known for welcoming members of the audience backstage following the shows on Broadway, spoke to her experience of performing in New York City. She recalled how they performed eight shows a week for roughly 1,000 people at a time; “With 8,000 people a week, in a city like New York, there was always somebody who had a connection.” In bringing Come From Away home to Gander, the incredible kindness that was bestowed upon 7,000 stranded strangers can now be celebrated in front of the people who gave so much in a time of need.
Astrid emphasized how the character she will be playing in this production, Diane, was able to flourish because of how she was taken care of by the people of Gander and the surrounding communities. She reflected on being in Gander with the Come From Away cast to perform at the arena in 2016, and said that there is a “vibration” there that can be tapped into immediately.
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