When the Australian production of Come From Awaypremiered in Melbournein 2019, quite a few of the real people depicted in the joyous, uplifting musical were there in the audience – causing even more rapturous applause when they joined the cast onstage during the curtain call and stood next to the actor who had portrayed them.

Ever since Come From Awayhit the big-time when it opened on Broadwayin 2017, a group of the real people on whose story the show is based, have travelled the world to see it and lend their support – such is the emotional commitment they feel for the piece.

Come From Away, Melbourne. Photograph © Jeff Busby

You can see why. Canadian husband and wife David Hein and Irene Sankoff, who co-wrote the book, music and lyrics, spent a huge amount of time interviewing the people involved, and they have really captured their personalities as well as the open-hearted, generous spirit of life in Gander, Newfoundland where the show is set, choosing just the right musical and narrative style to suit the story.

Nick...