June 11, 2017 10:25 pm
Updated: June 12, 2017 8:13 am

Canadian play about Newfoundland town’s 9/11 legacy wins Tony for musical direction

WATCH ABOVE: Christopher Ashley wins Tony Award for best director of a musical for “Come From Away.”


NEW YORK – Christopher Ashley paid tribute to the people of Newfoundland as he accepted his Tony for best director of a musical for “Come From Away.”

The play is set in Gander, N.L., in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

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The remote East Coast town saw its population double in size as it sheltered 6,579 passengers and crew from planes diverted when U.S. air space was closed.

READ MORE: From Gander to Broadway: The journey of ‘Come From Away’

“Most of all, I’d like to accept this on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and all of the first responders and their families in New York … who gave their lives,” Ashley said in his acceptance speech.

“The people who extended their hearts and their homes and were generous and kind at the very worst moments, to all of you, thank you.”

Ashley also acknowledged the “extraordinary” “Come From Away” Canadian co-creators Irene Sankoff and David Hein who he said told the show’s story “with so much grace and heart.”

WATCH: Role played by Gander, Newfoundland residents remembered on 15th anniversary of 9/11

And he thanked his “theatrical home,” California’s La Jolla Playhouse, where “Come From Away” was staged several years ago on its lengthy journey to Broadway.

This is Ashley’s first Tony win following previous nominations for “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Memphis.”

Heading into Sunday’s awards, “Come From Away” was up for seven Tonys, including best musical.

READ MORE: Canada’s legacy after 9/11: How Gander opened its arms to thousands of stranded passengers

“Dear Evan Hansen” captured the Tonys for best score and best book of a musical, beating Sankoff and Hein.

“Come From Away” star Jenn Colella lost the best featured actress in a musical Tony to Rachel Bay Jones of “Dear Evan Hansen.”

The show also lost out on the best lighting design of a musical award to Bradley King of “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.”

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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