Q & A with Celtic Violinist Kiana June Wbber


        "Come From Away New Musical"

September 28, 2019

Senior Writer: Diana Brang Scott


COME FROM AWAY tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers on 38 planes that were ordered to land in the small town of Gander Newfoundland and how that community welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. On September 11, 2001 the world stopped. On September 12, their stories moved us all.


We all can remember exactly what we were doing and where we were on one of the scariest days in our lives. The events that occurred on September 11th, 2001 changed us all. COME FROM AWAY is a reminder of genuine humanity, in a cruel scary world. I recently spoke with Kiana June Webber a Michigan a native who is a classically trained Celtic fiddler. She attended high school in Chelsea and the University of Michigan Music School for collage. Kiana has an impressive resume which included performing with Barrage, Gaelic Storm, Carlos Nunez and recorded 4 Billboard World No. 1 albums. She is currently on tour and is one the 8 band members in this musical production. The musicians are an integral part of this show, there is no orchestra pit, they perform on stage amongst the actors though out the entire show.


Kiana described the show as, “Its such a unique and special production. It tells the story through the music of the local population, which is primarily Celtic music. Its just infused into every fiber of the community. This show is an amazing blend of high caliber Broadway hits and folk music.” Kiana has been playing music her entire life, she started out on piano but was drawn to the violin by the time she was just 7 years old. She said, “I was lucky to have such supportive and encouraging parents. They have been there from my very first lesson, to flying abroad to see me perform.” She laughed and said,” and over the years they have continued to be supportive even with all my touring and constantly being away.”


Kiana has been on stage performing in many different capacities, but this is her first Broadway show, so I asked her what hardest part of this production for you? She said, “The hardest part is really just how fast the show moves. It just doesn’t stop, and the scene changes are so rapid its mentally a challenge to stay with it because its so fast paced. Musically it is scored more like a film than a classic musical, the music is playing the entire production and it quickly switches between scenes at the drop of a hat. You have to be very focused, it’s a cut and splice scene change from the sounds of Newfoundland to pop songs on an airplane and it’s an interesting challenge as a musician to create that for the actors.”


Even though this musical begins with what happened on 9/11 it is more of a 9/12 story, and you will be introduced to all the amazing characters that are based on actual real people from the tiny town of Gander. The cast has met each and every one of the people they are portraying on stage. Being a show based on real life experiences, I asked Kiana if there was a message for the audience within this show. She said, “Oh yes, there are many messages because there are so many little stories within the larger show, and those will become evident as the characters are introduced. But I think the larger message is what humanity can be, and what we can do for each other. This is a story of humanity at its best, these people opened their hearts and cared for all these strangers that were stuck in what was a very scary time.”


Come out and see Kiana June Webber and the entire touring cast of COME FROM AWAY starring Kevin Carolan (Disney’s Newsies), Harter Clingman (Peter and The Starcatcher), Nick Duckart (In the Heights), Chamblee Ferguson, Becky Gulsvig (School of Rock the Musical), Julie Johnson (Memphis), Christine Toy Johnson (The Music Man), James Earl Jones II (The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess), Megan McGinnis (Les Misérables), Andrew Samonsky (South Pacific), Danielle K. Thomas (Avenue Q), Emily Walton (August Osage County), Marika Aubrey, Jane Bunting, Michael Brian Dunn, Julie Garnyé, Adam Halpin and Aaron Michael Ray.


With a book, music and lyrics by Tony and Grammy Award nominees Irene Sankoff & David Hein, COME FROM AWAY is directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley (Come From Away), musical staging by two-time Tony nominee Kelly Devine(Come From Away, Rocky), with music supervision by Grammy nominee Ian Eisendrath (Come From Away), scenic design by Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt (Act One), costume design by Tony Award nominee Toni-Leslie James (Jelly’s Last Jam), lighting design by two-time Tony Award winner Howell Binkley (Hamilton), sound design by Tony Award nominee Gareth Owen (End of the Rainbow), orchestrations by Tony nominee August Eriksmoen (Bright Star), music arrangements by Grammy nominee Ian Eisendrath and casting by Telsey + Company


Tickets for COME FROM AWAY start at $39 (includes facility and parking fees) are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com, and by phone at 800-982-2787.

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