No Newfoundlanders in Toronto ‘Come From Away’ cast
The creators of Broadway sensation “Come From Away” say they gave extra points to Newfoundlanders when selecting performers for the Toronto production of the show, but none made it to the cast list.
Mirvish Productions announced an all-Canadian cast for the Toronto version of “Come From Away” on Wednesday, with some accomplished names.
“Degrassi” actress Eliza-Jane Scott will play pilot Beverley Bass, a role played on Broadway by Tony-nominated actress Jen Colella.
George Masswohl will play Gander Mayor Claude Elliott and a series of other mayors in the show, while Lisa Horner will play Gander resident Beulah Cooper.
Former “Canadian Idol” finalist Steffi DiDomenicantonio will take the role of TV reporter Janice, while Kristen Peace will play the role of SPCA worker Bonnie Harris.
A number of Newfoundland performers auditioned for the Toronto cast and some of those received callbacks, but they weren’t ultimately selected.
Kate Etienne, who lived in Corner Brook (her father, Jerry, is founder of the Gros Morne Theatre Festival and teaches theatre at MUN’s Grenfell Campus), has been hired as an alternate for the Toronto production, to sub in as needed.
“It’s so hard, sometimes people come in and they just fit a role. We really tried to give people an extra bunch of bonus points if they came from Newfoundland,” Irene Sankoff, who created “Come From Away” with her husband, David Hein, told SaltWire Network in New York last month after the Tony Awards.
The awards show saw “Come From Away” director Christopher Ashley — who is also directing the Toronto version — win the Tony for Best Direction of a Musical.
“We saw so much talent from out there, but it’s such a puzzle piece,” added Hein. “It can’t just be one aspect. We saw so many good people, and there are some interesting announcements to come. People want to be in this show and to represent.”
Without giving names, Sankoff said a couple of Newfoundlanders turned down spots in the Toronto production.
“We reached out to them and asked them to be in the show, and they wanted to either stay in Stratford or had relocated to the States and didn’t want to come home,” she said, adding there are a couple of Newfoundlanders in the Toronto “Come From Away” band.
“We made that step, that extra reach, but at the end of the day you’ve got to think of the production as a whole.”
Husband and wife duo David Hein and Irene Sankoff are the creators of “Come From Away.” A Toronto production of the show is set to open in February.