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Broadway smash brings fresh take on 9/11 experience

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Broadway Theatre League is presenting the Broadway smash “Come From Away” at the Auditorium Theatre with performances through Sunday, November 24.

Two of the show’s stars James Earl Jones II and Kevin Carolan discussed the premise of “Come From Away” and why it has resonated with audiences Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.

“When 9/11 struck there were 38 planes with 7,000 passengers from all over the world sent by the FAA to a tiny town of 9,000 – Gander, Newfoundland – with a huge airport and small city,” Jones explained. “And so the 7,000 passengers from 95 different countries were all landed in Gander, Newfoundland and this town of 9,000, although they didn’t have to get everyone off the plane, gave them food, water, shelter, clothing, they gave them ways to communicate with their loved ones, and took care of them for five days, never asked for a thank you. The show is different in that one, it is a completely true story, and two, it is a story about selflessness and kindness and tolerance, and understanding. It’s pretty simple. We have 12 chairs and three tables, an eight person band, and 12 cast members on stage. But this show resonates with people all over the world.”

Each cast member is identified with one character but plays others as well in the telling of “Come From Away.” Jones plays Bob and Others. Carolan plays Claude and Others. “It’s a delicate balance,” said Carolan. “It’s thrilling to know that there are these belly laughs. So we’ve got many laugh out loud moments that you wouldn’t expect to be seeing and it’s structured in such a way that we’ll have you there for a while and then it’ll make a turn and all of a sudden you’ll have a little lump in your throat.”

He added, “The challenge is the opportunity that we as actors get to portray more than one character and turn on a dime. You know, it’s really just taking a hat off and just turning around in a circle and you’re in a new scene and you’re playing a new person.”

The cast of 12 works in concert to pull off the complicated musical numbers and dialogue. “Everything happens seamlessly,” Jones said. “But at the same time, if anything gets shifted, it could potentially affect the show. And so we are always working together as a team on stage, including the musicians, and we have a great time every night.”

To get your tickets for “Come From Away” visit the Auditorium Theatre Box Office or go online to the RBTL website.

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