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Broadway writer of ‘Come From Away’ considers Saskatoon ‘amazing art city’

Click to play video: 'Hit musical ‘Come from Away’ has a Saskatoon connection'
Hit musical ‘Come from Away’ has a Saskatoon connection
WATCH ABOVE: "Come From Away" is set in Newfoundland, playing on Broadway and was co-written by a Saskatchewan man – Mar 24, 2017

A Newfoundland-based story on Broadway was co-written by a man who grew up in Saskatchewan and first experienced theatre in Saskatoon.

Husband and wife team David Hein and Irene Sankoff are the writers of Come From Away, a musical based on the kindness and generosity exhibited in Gander, N.L., in the days following the 9/11 attacks.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau to watch Canadian musical ‘Come From Away’ in New York City

The town welcomed nearly 7,000 stranded passengers from 38 diverted planes – doubling its population – in the wake of the attacks.

Hein was born in Regina and spent time living in a South Dakota farmhouse before attending elementary school in Saskatoon.

“It was just awesome, whether it was climbing under the bridges, getting crayfish out from the river [or] going down to the art gallery,” Hein said.
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While other members of Come From Away might recall their first exposure to theatre coming in the form of a Broadway show, Hein remembers a Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan production.

READ MORE: Canadian play ‘Come From Away’ earning rave reviews south of the border

“It was seeing Romeo and Juliet on the side of the Saskatchewan in a tent and Mercutio pulled up on a motorcycle and it blew my mind,” Hein said.

“It was amazing and it was right in front of me and I had no idea Shakespeare or theatre could be that exciting.”

Unaware at the time, Hein was witnessing a landmark show for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, according to the festival’s artistic producer, Will Brooks.

“It was this amazing collaboration of cultures and artists and voices and it created a production that inspired an entire generation, really,” Brooks said.

The 25th Street Theatre Centre also provided inspiration for the future playwright.

“It was heartwarming for us to hear that David had made mention of our influence,” the centre’s executive director Robert Wyma said.

After Broadway, Come From Away is scheduled to grace the stage in Toronto next year.

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WATCH: Jean Chrétien shares memories of 9/11 at musical ‘Come From Away’

Click to play video: 'Jean Chretien shares memories of 9/11 at musical ‘Come From Away’'
Jean Chretien shares memories of 9/11 at musical ‘Come From Away’

With files from The Canadian Press

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