by Deirdre Kelly
photography by mike Ford
The York grads behind the Broadway hit Come From Away have joined forces with Ellen DeGeneres, the reigning queen of daytime television, for their next project. Irene Sankoff (BA ’99) and David Hein (BFA ’97), who created the book, lyrics and music for the internationally acclaimed Newfoundland-based musical about true events that followed the September 11 terrorist attacks, will write and executive produce a new television series. DeGeneres will also executive produce the one-hour drama, How to Get Run Over by a Truck, which is based on Katie McKenna’s 2016 memoir about being hit by a massive semi while out riding her bike one sunny morning in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Sankoff and Hein, a married couple, met in 1994 at York University, where she did an undergraduate degree in psychology and he did his in set and lighting design. In addition to the DeGeneres project, they are presently working on a film version of their musical, which debuted in 2013 and is still going strong with performances in Toronto, New York and, as of this May, Shanghai. “Write something you love that you’re ready to live with for a long time,” said the couple in a recent interview. “It’s like a marriage: you’re in it for good and you’re going to spend years with it, so you’d better love your material and your characters.” ■