Come from Away

Reflection by Gabrielle Chen ’18

Photograph by Taylor Chin ’18

Come From Away was a joyous, touching, time-warping, completely unexpected experience. Halfway through the show, 1.5 hours in total with no intermission, I found that I had forgotten who I was—that I was a Princeton student, that I wouldn’t get back to school until after midnight, that I had classes and projects and responsibilities and petty grudges to worry about. All of me was fully absorbed in the story and spectacle and heart of Gander and its fostered children. I brought and dug into a packet of tissues, but never quite managed to offer them to the 70-year-old man sniffling beside me, for fear of distracting him from the stage. The emotions were expertly managed—reeling from one extreme to another but absent the kind of sugary morality or exploitative melodrama one might expect from the musical’s plot summary. The transition from final note to standing ovation was the most eager one I’ve ever seen, and I left the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre feeling lit up from within, merging into the flow of an audience’s exodus with a full heart and buoyant charity.