Nfld. & Labrador

Newfoundlander in New York: Petrina Bromley talks Broadway debut

Newfoundland and Labrador actress Petrina Bromley dishes about life in New York and her big Broadway debut.

Come From Away chosen as New York Times critic's pick

Petrina Bromley made her Broadway debut in Come From Away. (Darryl Murphy/CBC)

The Barenaked Ladies song Grade 9 played in Petrina Bromley's head as she woke up in New York City one morning.

It didn't make sense, until the Newfoundland actress clued-in to its relevance.

"Grade 9 me is losing their nut right now," Bromley said Monday, a day after making her debut on Broadway, in a musical centered on her home province.

The musical epiphany came after the cast recording of Come From Away — a show inspired by the actions of Newfoundlanders during 9/11 — was released. It's been climbing the iTunes charts ever since, with its Newfoundland folk meets rock numbers.

Dream come true

"None of that seemed like obtainable dreams but they were certainly dreams that you had," Bromley said.

"Grade 9 me thinks it took too long, but I'm here!"

The cast of Come From Away pose for photos at a party celebrating their Broadway debut, at Gotham Hall in New York City Sunday night. (Darryl Murphy/CBC)

Asked what a day-in-the-life on Broadway looks like, Bromley laughs.

"Sadly, not all that different from normal life."

Prior to the show's opening night, the cast was busy each day rehearsing, making sure every step, song and movement was right in preparation for the big night.

But the twists and turns weren't daunting because of the trust the cast has in the show and its directors, Bromley said.

"It's all about reminding each other to really enjoy the moment and be present in that moment of being on that stage, on Broadway, and soaking it in and storing it ahead for the old folk's home for later," she said.

New York Times critic's pick

As the cast and real life characters celebrated opening night, the reviews started flooding in — a mixture of critique and praise for the Canadian-born show.

The New York Times chose Come From Away as its critics' pick.

"I've heard people call it a rave, and I read it and said, 'Well, it's nice!,'" Bromley said.

Among the good were the negative, with some reviewers criticizing the depth of the characters and the celebratory tone against the tragedy of the terrorism attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

If you're cynical person, Come From Away may not be the show for you, Bromley said.

"It's probably not going to break your icy heart if you go in saying, my icy heart will not be broken."

With files from Angela Antle