History was made when "Come From Away," a musical created by Michael Rubinoff of Sheridan College, was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including the prestigious Best Musical category.
Sheridan is believed to be the first post-secondary institution to be involved in a Tony-nominated musical. The college was named among the list of producers in the Best Musical nomination.
The musical was based on a true story from September 11th, 2001. After the attacks that day, 38 planes were ordered to land immediately. About 7,000 passengers from one of those planes found themselves suddenly stranded in Gander, Newfoundland. The "selfless humanity and compassion" shown by its residents to the passengers was so profound that it inspired this musical.
Michael Rubinoff, associate dean of visual and performing arts at Sheridan College, first came up with the idea for the musical in 2011. He then brought in Irene Sankoff and David Hein, a husband-and-wife team who collaborated on the words and music.It was performed for the first time by students in the college's Musical Theatre Performance program and was later performed in theaters across the United States thanks to help from Junkyard Dog Productions.
In March, the musical made it to Broadway, where it has received rave reviews and grossed more than $1 million a week. Thanks to the nomination, a number from the musical will be performed during the Tony awards ceremony, which is set to take place on June 11 and will be hosted by actor Kevin Spacey.
"We believe we're the first postsecondary institution in the history of the Tony Awards (and certainly the only Canadian one) to have a Tony Award nomination for best musical, to our name," wrote Mary Preece, Sheridan's current president and vice chancellor, in a statement.
"Sheridan is immensely proud of the role we played in bringing this culturally significant show to Broadway," said Jeff Zabudsky, former president and vice chancellor of Sheridan, at the time of the nomination. Students, staff and alumni gathered at Sheridan's Oakville campus to watch news of the nominations last fall. Given that only five Canadian musicals have made it to Broadway, the fact that the musical is centered on a Canadian town has brought even more pride to the people of the town and to students at Sheridan, says Rubinoff (Sheridan, News & Events, 2/16; Sheridan, News & Events, 5/2; Nestruck, Globe and Mail, 5/2).
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