You guys. YOU GUYS. Omg. It’s been forever. Do you even remember me? Quick recap. My name is Sharon Wheatley, I used to blog all the time in cliff hanging blogisodes and I had dozens (a dozen? Maybe a baker’s dozen?) of loyal readers (shout out to my Aunt Barbara, Creason and my PTBF Mark Motz—ok, maybe I had three loyal readers…) but HEY, HI!
For anyone else, here is a quick recap—I used to blog, I wrote a book, I lived in New York, I moved to San Diego, I was cast in a show, and now I live in New York again. That’s basically all you need to know. Oh. And now my hair is kind of red. And it used to be more of a brown-ish-with-golden-highlights situation. But that looked bad in the show I’m in because my hair matched my jacket. So they dyed it red-ish.
This is me with red-ish hair. My mother would hate this picture, which makes me laugh and want to post it. Note: red-ish.
Shazam! We’re all caught up!
I haven’t written in over two years? Three years….hold on…Geez, I don’t know. A long time. I did write one blog last year and it gives you a quick snapshot of somethings that have gone down since we last met up (or if you are new you can skip it or read it or, you know, maybe you are already watching a video of a kitten giving a ducking a bath by this point, so, you know, let’s get on with it.)
Here’s what I’m writing about.
I’m in a show (as I said). The show is called COME FROM AWAY and it’s on Broadway, and you can come and see it and everything (I’m the one with the kind of red-ish hair and I may or may not stand on some chairs). And this show is set in, of all places, Newfoundland. And it’s a true story. And I am going to tell you another true story, which is how a group of producers took a gigantic group of Broadway people to Gander, Newfoundland to eat a lot of sandwiches and do a concert in an ice rink. And how it was better than being Beyoncé for a day. Although maybe it’s not hard to have it better than Beyoncé for a day because, let’s face it, she’s got those newborn twins and has to be all famous and beautiful and still be a mom, which is hard and makes me exhausted just thinking about it. Let’s have a moment of silence and all think about Beyoncé and her babies and how she looked like the Madonna at The Grammy’s. Wait—not Madonna as in “Like a Virgin” Madonna, but instead Madonna as in the Madonna as in Jesus’s Mommy. Like this.
You’re wondering how this all relates to Gander, Newfoundland. I understand your confusion and thinking I’ve maybe lost my marbles, but be patient. You’ll see. We’ll get back to Beyoncé in Newfoundland. I promise.
It started as all good trips to Newfoundland should, on a bus out of Manhattan at some unbelievably early hour. Even the roosters were asleep.
But it seems like I need to give you a bit of background on how we got here and what I’m talking about so I am going to do a Reader’s Digest version. Or if you are too young to know what that is, the cliff notes version. Or if you are too young to know what that is, the Wikipedia version. Or if you are too young for that, you are on the wrong web page and should be over on the Minecraft page, so get outta here.
Here’s the basic info you need.
On 9/11 the US airspace was closed. All US bound flights from foreign countries were grounded at the nearest airport. For many planes that airport was in Gander, Newfoundland which is on the northeast most tip of North America. Tiny little Gander has a giant airport because they used to refuel big airplanes as they headed over to Europe back in the middle of the 20th century. Eventually jumbo jets were built which could make the flight without stopping to refuel, so Gander became a tiny town with a giant airport and a population of just under 9,000 people. On September 11, 2001, 38 planes landed in Gander and the town hosted 7,000 people from all over the world for 5 days.
And David Hein and Irene Sankoff wrote a show about it. And I’m in it.
And lots of other people are in it.
(Lots of other people. Honestly, these are astounding and great people. And they let me take their picture a lot.)
And we all went to Gander on our way to opening the show on Broadway. And YES, for those of you consulting your calendars, this was almost a year ago, and YES, I am just now writing about it, but hey now, calm down and read and enjoy because, you know, sometimes in this instantaneous world it's nice to let something percolate. And maybe I use the word "percolate" when others might use the word "procrastinate" but if you are into semantics you should probably read something much more highfalutin with fewer typos.
Most of us have been together since the summer of 2015, when we did the shows first commercial production at the La Jolla Playhouse. We then went on to do the show at The Seattle Repertory Theater, and then at The Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. We ended our run in DC in mid October, came to New York to do a shoot for Vanity Fair (that’s right, you heard me right, we were in Vanity Fair. Just look at us.
Have you ever seen a less likely crowd for a Vanity Fair shoot? We were beside ourselves. (PS zoom in on my shoes, they were awesome looking and almost crippled me) and then we all got a horrible night’s sleep and boarded a bus in Manhattan bound for Gander, Newfoundland.
It was a sixteen hour long travel day that involved two buses, two planes and a gift bag of Grey Goose, but to find out more, you’ll have to join me tomorrow for the next blogisode and find out WHO in our cast absolutely has to have their hand held on an airplane during take off and landing. As in, if you sit next to this person on a plane and you are a complete stranger, you will end up holding this person’s hand anyway.
It’s fun to be back! Thank you for joining me!