TORONTO -- Actor George Masswohl got cast for the upcoming Canadian production of "Come From Away" without actually having seen the Broadway hit.
Not that it was intentional.
"Couldn't get a ticket!" says Masswohl, who will play Claude in Mirvish Production's new seven-month run of the show at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, starting in February.
He wasn't alone in getting shut out of the massive hit. Tickets were hard to come by during the show's brief run in Toronto last winter, before it left for Broadway and went on to win a Tony Award.
"Come From Away," written and created by Canadian couple Irene Sankoff and David Hein, tells the true story of how the town of Gander, N.L., welcomed over 7,000 stranded airline passengers after 9/11. The show's momentum hasn't slowed since last year's Toronto premiere: its soundtrack was just nominated for a Grammy and the creators are hard at work on a script for a film adaptation.
They've said the movie version will be bigger and grander than the play, which takes a minimalist approach to stage design. But February's production won't stray from the original esthetic, Hein said at a rehearsal on Thursday.
"It's this incredible magic act, what they do onstage with 12 chairs and a few tables," he said. "It's created in that same style that we fell in love with, which is sort of a Newfoundland kitchen party, where we invite the audience in and we all tell stories."
"It's an actor's playground," Sankoff added. "You get to really enjoy the skills of these actors, and the musicians, and be in the room where it happens."
There will be some changes, though. Sankoff said a new song was added to the Broadway production that Toronto audiences didn't hear last fall. And they're excited to be telling the story with an all-Canadian cast.
"We're so proud ... to wake up every day and tell this Canadian story, and now with a Canadian cast back in our town where it was created," Hein said.
"We've seen it a million times. We never get tired of the magic they tell."