On September 11, 2001, the world changed as America experienced a terrorist attack unlike ever before. New York, whose Twin Towers tumbled to the ground, changed. We continue to unearth stories from that day, including those captured in the Tony-winning Broadway musical Come From Away. The show demonstrates how, in the wake of tragedy, small human kindnesses can change the world for good.
This September 11, the cast of Come From Away join over 2,500 volunteers in a National Day of Service and Remembrance in true Gander style. While the cast will gather at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York to perform “Prayer” from the show, they will also work to assemble over 500,000 meals for individuals in need in the NYC area, distributed by City Harvest and Food Bank of New York. Tens of thousands of the packed meals will also be provided as emergency food supplies to assist the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Houston and surrounding areas.
For cast member Caesar Samayoa, the Day of Service feels like the best way to commemorate the day. “I was here in NYC on 9/11, the community I grew up in and my high school were deeply affected by this tragedy,” he says. “I will never forget that day. But I take our day of service as a stand against this kind of an act and as a way of honoring the friends and family we lost. Kindness, light and compassion, that is what I will honor on 9/11. The millions of people that came together in kindness.”
Actor Q. Smith was also in New York City on that day and feels it particularly apropos to gather at the Intrepid. “The Intrepid was an investigation headquarters during that time [after the attacks], so to perform in a number from our show at the Intrepid—a show that speaks about healing, community, and kindness—means the world to me,” she says.
Music has been a powerful mode of healing for audiences at the show, according to its performers. “Audiences were so grateful to come to the show and have their spirits lifted and to be reminded of joy and music and laughter,” says actor Astrid Van Wieren. “Kindness and our common humanity need to be celebrated and commemorated.”
While Come From Away may be a “9/12 story,” no doubt the impact of the cast will be felt on 9/11.
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