Come From Away Broadway cast member Emily Walton was surprised onstage at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre following the January 21 performance of the Tony-winning musical, when the rest of the cast, a special guest, and a sold-out house gathered to celebrate a very special offstage achievement.
Fellow Come From Away cast member Josh Breckenridge shared onstage video of the entire event on Instagram. Watch below:
During the 18-month Broadway shutdown, Walton used her downtime to go back to school and finish her college degree, ultimately earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University. Walton's co-star Joel Hatch (currently appearing as Claude and others) took the stage after the January 21 performance and introduced SNHU President and CEO Paul J. LeBlanc, who was on hand with Walton's framed diploma and a blue graduation robe and cap to celebrate her pandemic achievement.
"You might have noticed we've been apart for about a year and a half, and we've missed a lot of special events in our family," says Hatch introducing the ceremony. "And tonight, we want to share a very special event with you."
Walton's Broadway career began with her performance as Jean Fordham during the original run of August: Osage County. In 2013, she took over as Molly, Mrs. Bumbrake, and Ted in Peter and the Starcatcher, and she joined Come From Away in 2019. Walton is part of the cast that was filmed onstage and released by AppleTV+ in 2020, and re-opened the work post-pandemic in September, 2021.
Come From Away tells the true story of 7,000 stranded air passengers during the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. The ensemble cast take on a variety of roles, from travelers to locals to airline personnel.
The show features music, lyrics, and a book by Irene Sankoff and David Hein with direction by Tony winner Christopher Ashley, choreography by Olivier winner Kelly Devine, music supervision and arrangements by Ian Eisendrath, scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestrations by August Eriksmoen, and casting by Rachel Hoffman of The Telsey Office.
After opening March 12, 2017, the musical was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and winning Best Direction of a Musical for Christopher Ashley.