- Titanic (musical)
caption= Original Cast Recording
basis= The sinking of the
productions= 1997 Broadway
1999 U.S. Tour
2006 West End
Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Score
Tony Award for Best Book
"Titanic" is a musical with music and lyrics by
Maury Yestonand a book by Peter Stonethat opened on Broadway in 1997. It won five Tony Awards including the award for Best Musical. "Titanic" is set on the ocean liner RMS Titanicwhich sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.
;Act 1Titanic begins (Prologue) as Thomas Andrews, the architect of the great ship, pores over the blueprints of his design (In Every Age). The curtain then rises to reveal the Ocean Dock in
Southampton, England, where people are gathering to wonder at and to board the ship on sailing day: first a stoker (How Did They Build Titanic?), then additional crewmen (There She Is), officers and stevedores (Loading Inventory), the owner, the architect and the captain (The Largest Moving Object), the Third and Second Class passengers (I Must Get On That Ship), and finally the First Class passengers (The 1st Class Roster). Now fully boarded, the ship pulls out as the company sings a prayerful farewell (Godspeed Titanic).
One by one, the dreams and aspirations of key characters are presented: Barrett, the stoker who wanted to get away from the coal mines (Barrett's Song); Murdoch, the ship's officer contemplating the responsibility of command (To Be a Captain); Kate McGowan and the Third Class passengers who yearn for a better life in America (Lady's Maid); Chief Steward Etches and the millionaires he serves who exult in the wonders of their world (What a Remarkable Age This Is!).
Barrett finds his way to the Telegraph Room where he dictates a proposal of marriage to his sweetheart back home (The Proposal) in a telegram transmitted by
Harold Bride, a young telegraph operator smitten with the possibilities of the new radio technology (The Night Was Alive).
The next day, April 14, after Sunday morning church service, the First Class attends the shipboard band's spirited out-of-doors dance-concert (Hymn/Doing the Latest Rag), an exclusive event crashed by Second Class passenger Alice Beane, a hardware store owner's wife who wants more out of life (I Have Danced). That evening, as Fleet the lookout scans the horizon (No Moon) and bandsman
Wallace Hartleyregales the First Class Smoking Room with a new song (Autumn), the ship sails inexorably towards her collision, which ends Act One.
;Act 2Act Two opens as the suddenly awakened First and Second Class passengers are assembled in the Grand Salon (Dressed in Your Pajamas in the Grand Salon) for life-belt instruction by Chief Steward Etches, before being sent up to the Boat Deck to board the lifeboats. In the Telegraph Room,
Captain Smith, Mr. Andrews and Bruce Ismay, the owner, argue over who is responsible for the disaster (The Blame) while Mr. Bride tirelessly sends out the SOS. Up on the Boat Deck, the male passengers are separated from their families (To the Lifeboats), and all express hopes of being reunited (We'll Meet Tomorrow) as the final boat is lowered. Isidor Straus(the owner of Macy's) and his wife Ida remain behind together, as she refuses to leave his side after 40 years of marriage (Still) and Mr. Etches utters a prayer (To Be a Captain reprise). In the abandoned Smoking Room, Thomas Andrews desperately redesigns his ship to correct its fatal flaws until the futility of his actions leads him to predict, in horrifying detail the end of Titanic just as she begins her now-inevitable descent (Mr. Andrews' Vision).
In an Epilogue, the survivors picked up by the Carpathia numbly retell what had once been Mr. Andrews' dream (In Every Age reprise). The living are joined by their lost loved-ones in a tableau recapturing the optimistic spirit of the Ocean Dock on sailing day (Finale).
The discovery of the wreckage of the RMS Titanic in 1985 attracted Yeston's interest in writing a musical about the famous disaster. "What drew me to the project was the positive aspects of what the ship represented – 1) humankind's striving after great artistic works and similar technological feats, despite the possibility of tragic failure, and 2) the dreams of the passengers on board: 3rd Class, to immigrate to America for a better life; 2nd Class, to live a leisured lifestyle in imitation of the upper classes; 1st Class, to maintain their privileged positions forever. The collision with the iceberg dashed all of these dreams simultaneously, and the subsequent transformation of character of the passengers and crew had, it seemed to me, the potential for great emotional and musical expression onstage." [http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-musicians/yeston-maury-biography Kalfatovic, Mary. "Maury Yeston", "Contemporary Musicians" (ed. Luann Brennan). Vol. 22, Gale Group, Inc., 1998] ]
Stone and Yeston knew that the idea was an unusual subject for a musical. "I think if you don't have that kind of daring damn-the-torpedos, you shouldn't be in this business. It's the safe sounding shows that often don't do well. You have to dare greatly, and I really want to stretch the bounds of the kind of expression in musical theater," Yeston explained."BMI Music World", Fall 1997, pp. 24-29] Yeston saw the story as unique to turn-of-the-century British culture, with its rigid social class system and its romanticization of progress through technology. "In order to depict that on the stage, because this is really a very English show, I knew I would have to have a color similar to the one found in the music of the great composers at that time, like Elgar or
Vaughan Williams; this was for me an opportunity to bring in the musical theater an element of the symphonic tradition that I think we really haven't had before. That was very exciting."
The high cost of "Titanic's" set made it impossible for the show to have traditional out of town tryouts. "Titanic's" previews began at Broadway's
Lunt-Fontanne Theatrein 1997 with major technical troubles: ironically, during previews the model ship onstage would "not" sink. These difficulties were mostly resolved by opening night. Even so,the show received mostly negative reviews. " The New Yorker's" was a rare positive assessment from the New York press: "It seemed a foregone conclusion that the show would be a failure; a musical about history's most tragic maiden voyage, in which fifteen hundred people lost their lives, was obviously preposterous.... Astonishingly, "Titanic" manages to be grave and entertaining, somber and joyful; little by little you realize that you are in the presence of a genuine addition to American musical theatre." [Franklin, Nancy. "New Yorker", May 12, 1997, pp. 102-03]
Nevertheless, the show became a surprise hit. Many credit at least part of the show's success to former talk show host
Rosie O'Donnellwho championed the show, featuring members of the original cast on her daytime talk show and giving away tickets to members of her studio audience. The show got a further boost when it won the 1997 Tony Award for Best Musical among other awards. The success of James Cameron's film "Titanic" helped fuel worldwide interest in the disaster. The Broadway production continued through much of 1998 drawing huge crowds. Crowds began to dwindle in the early months of 1999, and when the musical closed it was still a long way from making profit.Fact|date=May 2008
"Titanic" opened on
April 23, 1997at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatreand ran for 804 performances and 26 previews, closing on March 21, 1999. Directed by Richard Jones with choreography by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, the cast included Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark, and Brian d'Arcy James. Danny Bursteinwas a cast replacement. The lobby of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre was redecorated for the production: the complete passenger list of the "Titanic" was painted on the walls, noting those who ultimately survived the disaster. The set encompassed three levels to help form the impression of the size of the ship.
Jonathan Tunickwon the first Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for his work on the score. The show received five Tony nominations, winning in all five categories, though tellingly the director, Richard Jones, was not nominated; nor were any of the performers.
The production toured the United States for 100 weeks after closing on Broadway, followed by several other tours with non-Equity performers. A German production (European premiere) was also highly successful, and produced an original cast recording (sung in German) as a companion to the original Broadway cast recording on RCA Records. The
Toronto, Canadaversion premiered in February 2006 and the Australian production starring Nick Tateas Captain Smith debuted in October 2006. The musical made its London premiere at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley in November 2006. Though performed by a local amateur dramatics society, the production received warm reviews and was universally described as 'easily mistaken for a professional West End production'.
In Japan, a short one-month engagement played from January to February in early 2007. The Premiere in Cardiff, Wales, was performed from 15-19 May 2007 at the Sherman Theatre by Llandaff Musical Society.
On February 9, 2008, Ballinrobe Musical Society, under the direction of Noel Kirrane, performed the first ever production to take place in the Republic of Ireland. The show ran from 9th to 16th of February and was sold out for the entire week, playing to over 3000 people in the process. Michael Coen played Captain Edward Smith. There were French productions in
Belgiumin the cities of Liege and Charleroi.
The show premiered in Finland on 29 March 2008 in Seinajoki City Theatre.
"Titanic" has been translated into five languages: Japanese, French, Dutch, German and Finnish.
* Overture / In Every Age
* How Did They Build Titanic?
* There She Is
* I Must Get On That Ship
* The First Class Roster
* Godspeed Titanic
* Barrett's Song
* To Be A Captain
* Lady's Maid
* What A Remarkable Age This Is!
* The Proposal / The Night Was Alive
* God Lift Me Up (Hymn)
* Doing The Latest Rag
* I Have Danced
* No Moon
* Autumn / Finale Act One;Act II
* Wake Up, Wake Up
* Dressed In Your Pyjamas In the Grand Salon
* The Staircase
* The Blame
* To the Lifeboats
* We'll Meet Tomorrow
* To Be A Captain (Reprise)
* Mr. Andrews' Vision
* The Foundering
* Finale - In Every Age/ Godspeed, Titanic (Reprise)
Characters and original Broadway cast
While, arguably, the leading character of the musical is the ship itself, some of the characters on board were based upon actual passengers. Indeed, as is well-known, some of the passengers aboard the maiden voyage were wealthy and well-known businessmen, and many characters reflected that. Each of the named characters existed to some extent, though some names and circumstances were changed for dramatic purposes. The italicized names survived the shipwreck, and those to the right are the names of the actors that portrayed them in the original Broadway cast.
;Crew and staff aboard the HMS "Titanic"
CaptainE. J. Smith - John Cunningham
* 1st Officer William Murdoch -
* "2nd Officer
Charles Lightoller- John Bolton"
* "3rd Officer Herbert J. Pitman -
* "4th Officer
Joseph Boxhall- Andy Taylor"
Chief Engineer Joseph Bell- Ted Sperling
Harold Bride, Radioman- Martin Moran"
Frederick Fleet, Lookout- David Elder"
Frederick Barrett, Stoker- Brian d'Arcy James
Robert Hichens, Quartermaster- Adam Alexi-Malle"
Henry Etches, 1st Class Steward - Allan Corduner"
StewardessHutchinson - Stephanie Park
* "Stewardess Robinson -
Bellboy- Mara Stephens
Bandmaster Wallace Hartley- Ted Sperling
* Bandsman Bricoux - Adam Alexi-Malle
* Bandsman Taylor - Andy Taylor
* "Edgar Beane (based on Edward Beane) -
* "Alice Beane (based on Ethel Beane) -
* Charles Clarke -
* Caroline Neville -
Judith Blazer;1st Class
J. Bruce Ismay", Director of the " White Star Line" - " David Garrison"
* Thomas Andrews, the designer of the ship -
* John Jacob Astor -
Madeline Astor- Lisa Datz"
* "Mme. Aubert -
* "Charlotte Drake Cardoza (based on
Charlotte Drake Cardeza)" - " Becky Ann Baker"
* Edith Corse Evans -
Mindy Cooper, Pascale Faye
Benjamin Guggenheim- Joseph Kolinski
Isidor Straus- Larry Keith
Ida Straus- Alma Cuervo
* John B. Thayer -
Jack Thayer- Charles McAteer"
Marion Thayer- Robin Irwin"
* George Widener -
* "Eleanor Widener -
* J.H. Rogers - Andy Taylor
* Kate McGowan -
* "Kate Murphey -
* "Kate Mullins -
* Jim Farrell -
Awards and nominations
Tony Award for Best Musical- Produced by Dodger Endemol Theatricals (Des McAnuff, Joop Van Den Ende, Michael David, Rocco Landesman, Doug Johnson, Robin De Levita, Ed Strong, Sherman Warner), Richard S. Pechter, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical- Peter Stone
Tony Award for Best Original Score- Maury Yeston
Tony Award for Best Scenic Design- Stewart Laing
Tony Award for Best Orchestrations- Jonathan Tunick;Drama Desk Awards
Drama Desk Awardfor Outstanding Orchestrations - Jonathan Tunick
* [http://www.tamswitmark.com/musicals/titanic.html Tams-Witmark synopsis]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.