Rachel Tucker and other cast members from the musical Come from Away have appealed to politicians to attend the show, arguing that it teaches a lesson about “human kindness” that is needed amid the Brexit turmoil.
The Broadway musical, which opens in the West End tonight (February 18), tells some of the stories of the 7,000 airline passengers who were diverted to a small town in Canada at the time of 9/11 and the local residents who invited them into their homes.
Speaking alongside the people who inspired their characters in the show, the West End cast said the show’s message of “generosity and human kindness” towards foreigners felt particularly pertinent as the UK prepares to withdraw from the EU amid wider political turmoil.
Tucker, who plays an American Airlines pilot flying one of the diverted planes, told The Stage: “It’s a very important and current message in the climate that we’re living in, both here and in America. People need to know there are good humans on this planet.
“Especially politicians, [we should] get all our politicians and sit them down and make them watch this show. They need to come – over in the US as well – to watch this, listen, and learn from it.”
Cast member Jenna Boyd said politicians could “learn a lot” from the warmth and openness shown by the town of Gander to the stranded passengers in 2001, while fellow performer David Shannon said the musical had come at “one of the most important times” to tell the stories that it depicts.
“It’s so politically unstable here and around the world, so it’s a really important time to remember on a base level to be human – we’ve forgotten about that at the moment,” he said.
Kevin Tuerff, the American author who inspired Shannon’s character in the musical, said he was proud to be associated with a show “that at this point in time in our world, needs to be heard”.
“There is such fear of the stranger, fear of the immigrant, fear of refugees, we need to see examples of compassion like this,” he said.
Come from Away, written by husband-and-wife duo Irene Sankoff and David Hein, opened on Broadway in 2017 , where it has been attended by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, and arts minister Michael Ellis attended a preview of the show in London last week.