Come from Away, an entertaining and energetic musical if not a great one, is playing at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater, a landmark building downtown that was opened in 1926. The place has been upgraded from time to time, but retains that classic look of so many venues that have been torn down — thinking of the St. James and Mayfair theaters in Asbury Park, NJ, which were roughly the same vintage.
The mechanicals and technology in 5th Avenue Theater are clearly new, so the acoustics are great throughout. The seats aren’t too bad. The floor tilts. But the visual of the stage from where we were sitting, and the ornate ceiling, are gems.
Come from Away is the story of the people of Gander, Newfoundland, who welcomed thousands of stranded airline passengers from planes that were grounded there in the emergency of 9/11. The story is told from the perspective of those passengers, who were there for days, and their welcoming if overwhelmed hosts. This is an upbeat human story, musical soundtrack OK but nothing destined to be memorable, lots conveyed with simple changes of set done before the audience eyes. The show is now on Broadway. Probably worth seeing for an entertaining hour and 40 minutes, as long as you don’t expect to be dazzled by the show or moved beyond measure by deep emotion.