De’Lon Grant is living his best life, playing Bob, and others, in the musical Come From Away, and if you don’t believe that he’s taking big, juicy bites out of all that life has to offer, check out his social media account, Twitter, in particular. Grant is a member of a tiny club. He’s one of those very rare actors who has been working in the same hit Broadway show — ‘Come From Away‘ — for years which means he’s experienced a level of financial and creative security that millions of actors will never know.
The musical Come From Away is about one of the worst days on record — September 11, 2001, when at 8:14 AM EDT, America was attacked. That’s what Come From Away, which opened on Broadway a little over five years ago, is about; it’s about 911, and it’s a surprising musical with an odd title that is based on the true story of when a small, isolated community of Gander, Newfoundland played host to the world after the 911 attacks.
Imagine an average day in a small town that suddenly had to take care of an international sleep-over that consisted of 38 planes carrying thousands of people from across the globe being diverted to Gander’s air strip on September 11, 2001. Unfazed by culture clashes and language barriers, the townspeople of Gander cheered the stranded travelers with music, an open bar, and the understanding that we’re all part of a global family.
On paper, ‘Come From Away’ might seem like a crazy idea that was shaped into a dull musical, but I stand by the critics that praised it, adding it’s one of my favorite shows of all time. So, it’s hard to imagine they will have its final performance, its 1,670th, on October 2. It’s 2022, and The New York Times review, by Ben Brantley, said it correctly: [Come From Away is ] “The catharsis we need in this American moment,” and Joe Westerfield from Newsweek said, “It does what all the best musicals do. Takes you to a place you never want to leave.”
Technically, Grant has been a part of Come From Away since 2015, when it had its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse. He plays Bob (and others). The musical marks the actors’ first time on Broadway. Previously he toured as Berry Belson in Jersey Boys, a tour that “taught me a lot.”
De’Lon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Michigan and a Master in Music with a concentration in Musical Theatre Performance from The Boston Conservatory of Music. A skilled thespian, he was named Best Leading Actor at the 2017 IRNE Awards for portraying Haywood Patterson in The Scottsboro Boys. This role also earned him an Elliot Norton Award nomination. Some of his other credits include Frederick Douglass in Douglass (The Wit Theatre), Tod Clifton in Invisible Man (The Studio Theatre and The Huntington Theatre), Jim in Big River (Lyric Stage Company, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, and The Barnstomers), Achilles in Troilus and Cressida (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Posthumous/Cloten in Cymbeline (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Gaspard in A Tale of Two Cities (The Wheelock Family Theatre), Kaine in Dessa Rose (The New Repertory Theatre), and Sawyer in Harriet Jacobs (Underground Railway Theatre).
Here is what actor/teacher/photographer De’Lon Grant — now performing as Bob, and others, in the award-winning musical Come From Away — had to share about working on Broadway.
Q: You’ve had a job for five years on Broadway. How does that feel?
DE’LON GRANT: It feels amazing.
Q: Come From Away is not a simple show. It might look like it, but it’s not.
DG: Thank you for noticing; it’s a complicated show that looks deceptively simple.
For example, like the chairs [on stage], we are just sitting down, getting up, moving them around, but it’s all choreographed, and downstage, it’s a different story.
Q: Your cast mate, Q. Smith, told me that there are so many cue marks on the stage that it looks like —
Q. Why do you love performing the character Bob and others in Come From Away?
DG: I realized that I get to experience something amazing every week for the past five-plus years. Every performance is different because every audience is different. And as a storyteller, that feeling can’t be duplicated anyplace else.
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