The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — along with U.S. first daughter Ivanka Trump as a guest — welcomed a new musical that celebrates Canadian compassion and openness to international travelers following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Trudeau and Trump and some 120 ambassadors from around the world attended the show “Come From Away” on Wednesday night at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, in the city where the bulk of the 3,000 people on 9/11 died.
The musical is set in the small Newfoundland town of Gander, which opened its arms and homes to some 7,000 airline passengers diverted there when the U.S. government shut down its airspace. In a matter of a few hours, the town was overwhelmed by 38 planeloads of travelers from dozens of countries and religions, yet locals went to work in their kitchens and cleaned up spare rooms.
In remarks before the show, Trudeau got on the stage and said he was pleased that “the world gets to see what it is to lean on each other and be there for each other through the darkest times.”
The show got a standing ovation, including from Trump, who sat near Trudeau, his wife and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Also in attendance was Jean Chretien, a former Canadian prime minister, and the mayor of Gander. Trump was seen clapping along happily as the band played at the curtain call.
The actors did not make any changes to the script or acknowledge the special audience, but one afterward was still buzzing.
“When do we have the opportunity to share a story about kindness, gratitude and love that takes place in a country that is known for opening their hearts to people?” said actor Rodney Hicks. “It just meant the world to all of us.”
Trudeau, who champions global free trade and has welcomed 40,000 Syrian refugees, was celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation and also hoped to reaffirm the special friendship between Canadians and Americans.
“Our friends are there for those tough times, when you lose a parent or a loved one, when you get knocked off your path at a difficult moment in your life. Where you go through difficult times, that’s when you turn and you lean on your friends,” he said.Speech