Nfld. & Labrador

Gander's 9/11 experience used as basis for San Diego musical

Central Newfoundland in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks will be the setting for the season opener for one of the most prominent theatres in the U.S.

Local actress Petrina Bromley to star in La Jolla Playhouse show

Gander hosted passengers from 38 planes that were forced to land there after al-Qaeda attacked in the U.S. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Central Newfoundland in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks will be the setting for the season opener for one of the most prominent theatres in the U.S. 

Come From Away starring St. John's actress Petrina Bromley will chronicle those people who's flights were diverted to Gander International Airport following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

Bromley, the only Newfoundlander in the La La Jolla Playhouse musical, plays Bonnie, an SPCA worker in Gander who's worried about pets onboard the grounded planes. 

Written by Toronto-based husband and wife team Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the musical is set to be filled with scores of Irish and Newfoundland music. 
Petrina Bromley will star at La Jolla Playhouse in late May. (Submitted photo)

The world renowned theatre in San Diego has produced Tony-award winning shows that have often gone on to Broadway. 

"I'm totally honoured to be the only Newfoundlander — one of only three Canadians involved — and to be involved in this show at all," Bromley told CBC News.

"I'm trying not to let myself be stressed about it, [as I'm] the single, sole person representing my entire culture to another country," she joked. 

Chance meeting 

Bromley met Sankoff and Hein in Gander at a chance meeting in a Gander coffee shop in 2011.

The couple were in town for the 10-year anniversary of the attacks in the town, as its residents were applauded for taking in stranded travellers.

At the time, Bromley was acting in the Rising Tide show based on Gander during 9/11.

"I think it's good I am here to be a bit of a voice of authenticity and to lend some first-hand knowledge of things," Bromley said of the musical. 

The cast began rehearsals this week.

Come From Away will premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse on May 29. 

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