You guys. I know. You didn't think I'd ever finish it. Or even more likely, you clicked on this link without having any idea what this blog even is because I started it SO LONG AGO. Ok. Let’s all catch up. Need to re-read it or read it for the first time? Do so here. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you.
I have a snack and it’s my day off and my puppy is asleep in my lap. It’s all good.
(For those of you who are waiting for the others to catch up, I will fill you in on a bit of CFA insider info--the National Tour is in rehearsal right now, and set to start in Seattle next month and then travel all over North America. And because we are now a global juggernaut, I must also mention, the London (West End) and Australian companies are also set to start rehearsal this year. You know what that means? Counting us and the still-running Toronto production, there will soon be 5 (FIVE, COUNT 'EM FIVE) companies of COME FROM AWAY. That's a lot of Beulah's and Nick and Diane's and Oz's and Captain Bevs out there. Plus all the real people. So. Many. Of. Us.
Therefore, for clarification, I shall now officially, by the powers invested in me by this blog, change my name to Broadway Diane. NO. That's not obnoxious. Just helpful.)
Oh, hey, Welcome back! Ok! Let’s get down to why I’m here finishing this up. Why now? Why today?
1) On Tuesday it's 9/11 and we are all reflecting and remembering in our own way, so maybe this blog can serve as a way of traveling to a place on earth where kindness mattered on a very tragic day.
2) All the people I love (I'm looking at you, Diane and Nick) are currently back in Gander at a screening of a new documentary on HBO Canada about the real people behind the COME FROM AWAY story. Besides being very exciting, this also means Captain Beverly Bass and Nick and Diane, and Beulah, and Kevin, and Astrid (that's right, Astrid is on vacation and went to Gander) and basically everyone, is posting pictures of Gander right now where there is better weather than in NYC and also better weather than when we were there.
Wait. We were there? YES. Correct.
Timeline. We were there almost two years ago. I am writing a blog about it. My last installment was--wait for it--a year ago. And today I am writing the much teased conclusion. YOU THINK WAITING FOR THE NEW GAME OF THRONES HAS BEEN HARD? Well. Basically. My blog is like the final season of GOT. I am like a bottle of Heinz ketchup. Sing it with me, "Anticipation, it's making me wait."
You're too young to know that reference? This blog is full service. Hold on. I will satisfy your curiosity with a throwback video from youtube because, let's face it, everything old is new again thanks to this culture of Will and Grace and Murphy Brown reboots, and Youtube.
That apartment is cool, the clothes are awesome, and you can fall down a real youtube rabbit hole of Heinz commercials from the 1970's let-me-tell-you. But let's fall down another kind of rabbit hole instead. Let's go to the day October 30, 2017, the day a cast and crew and band and producer types and reporters went all over Newfoundland to get a first hand experience of, well, everything we could possibly do. WE’re going long, and we are finishing this story, so grab a toutan and some fried bologna and let’s go to Newfoundland.
The date is October 30th, 2016 and we are just waking up from doing the cocerts in the hockey rink.
First of all, let me get you to the level of exhaustion we are talking about. Think about the biggest weekend of your life. Your wedding? Your high school graduation? Think of something that has a giant and exhausting and thrilling main event, but also has a completely stacked schedule for every second around it. Like, not only do you HAVE to be there, but more importantly you CAN NOT IMAGINE MISSING A SINGLE MOMENT. And then have a bunch of stuff scheduled at once and you have to pick. And, I don't know, you are in Gander, Newfoundland. That was us.
The day after the concert we all met up and rode a bus back to the airport where we treated to a tour and then we were given a choice of going to Gander Academy and touring the school with Diane Davis (the "Davis" part of Astrid's character) or going to the North Atlantic Aviation Museum with Beverley Bass and some of the real people who managed how to land all 38 planes safely on that day. I opted for the Gander Academy tour because there was a bonus side trip of going to see Bonnie Harris at the Gander SPCA. Can we just pause and talk for a minute about how brutal that choice was? I WANNA DO BOTH.
First we captured this now-famous picture at the airport. One of the early lyrics of "Welcome to the Rock" describes the weather as misky and (wait--I can't remember the other lyric, I sent out a group text so my cast can remind me because we are going all the way back to La Jolla rehearsal time (spring 2015) for this lyric and I don't--aha! I already have a response...from Geno Carr...ladies and gentleman, pulling this lyric out of his, um, hat) "Where it's misky or its mauzy or its musky or its cursed? I think?"
And then this just in from Chad: "I don't think I ever got it right but it was "misky or its mauzy or its muddy or its cursed" Which, despite it being a tricky lyric, really does sum up the weather in Newfoundland.
So we head over to Gander Academy, and do this.
Then we head over the Bonnie Harris at the Gander SPCA and I don't have any pictures from there because my hands were full of kittens. But you can totally Google Gander SPCA Come From Away and the Getty Images are all there. And, bonus, there is even a 2017 calendar all with pictures of that day, which we sell in the lobby of the Schoenfeld. So even though I didn't document it (kitten excuse) it WAS well documented.
Ok--then--we head over to the town of Appleton and meet up with Derm, the mayor, and friend of Bob's in the show. He's the one who has Irish whiskey in the bar downstairs and organized the cookout with all the grills. He spoke to us about that week, they served us food, they gave us a pin, sang us a song, and then we all walked down to a park built with donations from the plane people. We especially loved seeing "the steel from the World Trade Center." Newfoundland is the only place outside of the United States with steel from the towers, a gift in thanks of all they did that day.
Then we headed out to Gambo, Dover and the Dover Fault. If I had to pick one moment of the whole trip, well of course it was this because going to the Dover Fault with Nick and Diane, and actually GETTING to see the place where me and Lee pretend to see every night--heaven. And living it first hand with Nick and Diane? Well. I'll just show you so you can do it, too.
Then we were off the the Gander Legion for a good old fashioned Screech In. Here you'll get a taste of it. It'll put some hair on your chest. “Is ye a Screecher?” The reply to this is, "Deed I is, me old cock, and long may your big jib draw!"
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After the screech in, I did do one more late night call, where I walked over to Tim Horton's to meet the real life Crystal , who was working a night shift and came on at 11pm (I play her in the show). I brought her a COME FROM AWAY sweat shirt, yet some how, I ended up leaving with two giant boxes of Tim Horton's t-shirts to distribute to the cast. It's so Newfoundland. You give a sweatshirt and get two boxes of t-shirts in return.
We can never keep up with their kindness.
But I challenge you all to try.
And thus we come to the end of my final installment of YOU ARE HERE (and we were there). Thank you for your patience. Thank you for seeing the show. Thank you, thank you.
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