25 DAYS OF TONYS: How Director Christopher Ashley Created a ‘Wild Ride’ Out of Come From Away

Tony Awards   25 DAYS OF TONYS: How Director Christopher Ashley Created a ‘Wild Ride’ Out of Come From Away
 
The Tony-nominated director shares the key to compressing the stories of 7,000 people and 5 days into 12 cast members and 100 amped-up minutes.

Tony nominee Jenn Colella has called Come From Away a 100-minute meditation. “I love that it requires all of my focus and everyone onstage’s focus,” she says. “It doesn’t stop at all—the music continues underneath us. Even the things we say—we can’t bury the timing of it too much or it will be a bit of a train wreck.”

Read More: DISSECTING COME FROM AWAY’S ‘ME AND THE SKY’ WITH TONY NOMINEE JENN COLELLA

But Tony-nominated director Christopher Ashley is the one keeping the train on its high-speed tracks. “The choreographer, Kelly Devine, and I—from readings to workshops to productions—have really tried to make it an experience which is compressed and never stops,” says Ashley. How does he keep the show so tightly wound? “We rarely take applause; it's really one wild ride from beginning to end.”

To purchase Come From Away tickets, click here. For discount tickets on select performances, click here.

Yet even with its pace, or perhaps because of it, Come From Away sees audiences in tears and on their feet night after night. “The script by David [Hein] and Irene [Sankoff] is incredibly dense and layered and inspired by real-life events and real people,” says Ashley. The director and his company used its four out-of-town tryouts (in La Jolla, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Toronto) to dig into the story. “We've been able to build this ensemble of 12 people's extraordinary, deep, layered performances across the last three years, so if they're telling the truth, it’s because they’ve really put in the time to work with each other, they love each other, they take care of each other.”

CELEBRATE THE 2017–2018 SEASON WITH THE TONY AWARD SEASON COMPILATION ALBUM!

Tune in to the Tony Awards on CBS June 11. For continuing coverage leading up to Broadway’s biggest night, stay tuned to Playbill.com/TonyAwards, and for more information visit TonyAwards.com.

Recommended Reading: