Last night, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in New York City attending the brand new Broadway musical Come From Away, and he wasn’t alone. Also in attendance was the U.S. President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.
The musical tells the incredible true story of Gander, Newfoundland; the small Canadian town that opened up its hearts and homes to over 7,000 passengers on 9/11 after 38 planes were grounded there when the U.S. airspace was closed. The New York Times gave the show a rave review, calling it a “Canadian embrace on a grim day.”
In the divisive political climate of today, a story about inclusiveness and acceptance of all people is desperately needed, and this is exactly what the hit musical provides.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 16, 2017
In Trudeau’s pre-show speech, he spoke about Canada’s warm hospitality and said, “that sort of example of everyone coming together and making things happen is, I know, what this story is all about,” CBC News reports. After the show, he even commented on Ivanka’s attendance and claimed that “she enjoyed it…as did everyone in the theater.” Theater reporter Michael Paulson says that it’s rare for a foreign leader to attend a Broadway show so publicly. But given the very relevant message of the musical, there’s no better time than now.
In addition, Ivanka Trump herself (an advisor in her father’s administration) even took some time to speak to several Canadian politicians, especially ones from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Many have commented on the irony of her attendance as her father’s main policies go against the main message of the show; welcoming strangers from all over the world in a time of great need, according to CBC News.
The Canadian-made production (written by husband and wife duo David Hein and Irene Sankoff) not only tells the tale of the bonds formed between different people but also of the strengthened bond between the United States and Canada. Currently, the two nations stand at opposing ends of the immigration spectrum. The acceptance of immigrants and refugees from all countries is a major part of Trudeau’s policy, while Donald Trump’s immigration ban has been making international headlines; causing controversy and backlash.
In the New York Times review, the key to the success of the musical is timing.
9/11 has a strong significance to New York City, so opening a musical about that tragic day in the heart of the city could have been a colossal disaster. However, over 15 years after the attacks, the cathartic message the show has to offer (coupled with the impeccably-timed theme of cultural acceptance) has brought massive amounts of people to the sold-out previews and opening night performances at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.
Before the show’s successful kick-off in New York, the show had a limited pre-Broadway engagement in Toronto, Canada. Here, it sold-out and broke records for theater in the city with over $1.7 million in ticket sales in one week alone, the Toronto Star reports. Additional shows were added, and rush lines were rampant, where twelve lucky patrons per show got “standing-room only” tickets. In fact, the show was so successful in Toronto that it’s slated for a return trip in February 2018. Perhaps with a different cast, as the Broadway production is expected to remain in New York well into next year due to its early success.
In a land where acceptance is limited by its own administration, the show offers a nice reminder that we all need to be there for each other in times of need; a sentiment that Trudeau himself firmly believes in.
The show currently runs eight performances per week, and tickets for shows through December 30 are on sale now.
Check out Justin’s full pre-show speech below.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/ Getty Images]