Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Titanic"

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note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Larry Stark


"Titanic

"A New Musical"

Story and Book by Peter Stone
Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston
Directed by Richard Jones
Originally Choreographed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett
Additional Choreography by Mindy Cooper
Musical Director Mark McLaren

Scenic and Costume Design by Stewart Laing
Lighting Design by Paul Gallo
Sound Design by Steve Canyon Kennedy
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Musical Supervision by Kevin Stites
Music Coordinator John Miller
Action Coordinator Rick Sordelet
Production Supervisor Susan Green
Technical Supervision by Aurora Productions
Production Stage Manager Leigh Catlett

Isador Straus/Chorus........................................................................S. Marc Jordan
Ida Straus/Chorus......................................................................................Taina Elg
Alice Beane......................................................................................Liz McConahay
Chief Engineer Joseph Bell/Wallace Hartley, Orchestra Leader/Chorus..Bruce Thompson
Harold Bride, Radioman.........................................................................Dale Sandish
1st Officer William Murdoch/Chorus..........................................................David Pittu
2nd Officer Charles Lightoller/Chorus........................................................John Leone
Frederick Fleet, Lookout/Chorus..........................................................Timothy J. Alex
Bandsman Taylor/J. H. Rogers/Chorus/4th Officer Joseph Boxhall............Ken Triwush
Quartermaster Robert Hichens/Bandsman Bricoux/Chorus.............Matthew Yang King
George Widener/Frank Carlson/Chorus.......................................................Michael Shelle
Charlotte Cardozo/Chorus............................................................Deborah Jean Templin
Edith Corse Evans/Chorus..............................................................Sarah Solie Shannon
J. J. Astor/Chorus.......................................................................................Doug Friedman
Benjamin Guggenheim/Chorus.........................................................................Ken Krugman
Mme. Aubert/Chorus.......................................................................................Carol Denise
John B. Thayer/Chorus....................................................................................Bob Lauder Jr.
Marion Thayer/Chorus.........................................................................Stacie James
Eleanor Widener/Chorus..........................................................................Laura Kenyon
Capt. E. J. Smith.....................................................................................William Parry
3rd Officer Herbert J. Pitman/Major/Chorus.......................................Rob Donohoe
Frederick Barrett, Stoker..........................................................................Marcus Chait
Henry Etches, 1st Class Steward............................................................Edward Conery
Stewardess Robinson.................................................................................Kristi Barber
Stewardess Hutchinson........................................................................Jennifer Waldman
Bellboy.................................................................................................Rebecca Lowman
J. Bruce Ismay..............................................................................................Adam Heller
Thomas Andrews...........................................................................................Kevin Gray
Madeleine Astor.........................................................................................Joann Spencer
Jack Thayer.........................................................................................Kristi Barber
Charles Clarke......................................................................................Philip Lehl
Caroline Neville..............................................................................Christianne Tisdale
Edgar Beane.......................................................................................David Beditz
Kate McGowen.....................................................................................Melissa Bell
Kate Mullins..............................................................................................Jodi Jinks
Kate Murphy..............................................................................................Kate Suber
Jim Farrell.........................................................................................Richard Roland


Let me save you a lot of time: in case you didn't know, this big boat hits an iceberg and sinks.
Before that, Liz McConahay gets to sing several long patter-song choruses telling you the gossip about famous passengers, and S. Marc Jordan and Taina Elg (who have some witty dialog before this) sing a great song called "Still." (If you call the SRO program on Emerson Radio this morning they'll play it for you. That will save you a lot of time and POTS of money.)
Otherwise, a disaster is a disaster is a disaster. The URL for this review is flagged "flopls.htm". You want details? Why?

Okay, I got details:
This show wasn't staged, it was herded. Most of the numbers are blocked with twenty-eight people, more or less, stretched in one or two lines across the stage in front of a boring background flat, singing. Sometimes the entire cast gets to parade the width of the stage, and come back across it behind the people parading in front. This may be called direction or choreography, but it cannot be called interesting.

For those who like Andrew Lloyd Webber, there isn't a chandelier but there is a crow's-nest. It doesn't crash, though. Sorry. There is a cute little illuminated model of the Titanic that moves from center stage to stage-left and then jogs, while the orchestra reaches a very loud crescendo, and that ends act one.

There is a deck that levers itself higher and higher at the stage-right end, so that people almost slide off stage-left. But I'll bet the movie was better.

There's a scene where people's heads appear in twelve portholes, looking out at the audience and supposedly watching lifeboats pull away from the ship. There's some tweedly-tweedly music, and the first four heads in portholes who are First Class passengers say some things. Then their lights go out and there's some tweedly-tweedly music, and the four heads from Second Class say some things, with a little less elegance. Then their lights go out and there's some tweedly-tweedly music again, and people from the crew say some things. Oh, this progresses from stage-left to stage-right. Did I mention the words "predictable" or "boring" yet?

Everything here is miked and amplified, so that people might as well be lip-synching their dialogue and singing since none of the sounds they utter appear to come from their own mouths. The amplification is perhaps not as deafening as a heavy-metal bash, but close to. This severing of the characters from what they say goes hand in hand with the oppressively monotonous sets and the in-a-row shallow staging to make everyone in this show tiny to the point of irrelevance. Some of the costumes, though, are flamboyantly silly. And Jordan, Elg, and McConahay somehow manage to claw their way into believable humanity whenever given half a chance.

But a disaster is a disaster is a disaster, and calling "Titanic" "A New Musical" can't make it otherwise.

Love,
===Anon.


"Titanic: A New Musical" (till 20 June)
THE WANG CENTER
270 Tremont Street, BOSTON
1(617)931-2787 1(508)931-2787

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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