Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Monday, January 20, 2014

BIG Broadway News! TITANIC is Headed Back to Broadway!

Filed under: Performing Arts — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:07

Both Playbill and Broadway World have reported the incredible news late last week that the Tony-Award winning Best Musical TITANIC is heading back to Broadway. Rather than inform you of my fond love for the show (it is my all-time favorite show to ever grace the stage), below I have reproduced Broadway World‘s Pat Cerasaro’s fantastic synopsis of the 1997 production and a little more news about the upcoming revival that’s headed to Broadway this Fall:

Today we are celebrating a particularly epic and eminently emotionally evocative Best Musical Tony Award winner just announced to be returning to the Great White Way later this year in a stripped-down, back-to-basics production based on a recent rapturously-received hit London revival – Maury Yeston and Peter Stone‘s TITANIC!


FLASH FRIDAY: Ship Of Dreams! TITANIC Is Set To Sail Back To Broadway This Fall

In Every Age

Originally opening on April 23, 1997 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and ultimately running there for 804 performances, the premiere production of TITANIC started out as anything but a dream – the preview period itself has been described by many directly involved as an all-out nightmare, as a matter of fact; and, understandably so. Originally book-ended by a contemporary prologue and epilogue depicting the unearthing of the famed drowned luxury ship in 1986, the musical was extensively revised and rewritten over the course of its somewhat long preview period. Composer/lyricist Maury Yestonadjusted many musical passages and added material that would go on to become among the most cherished in the score, while master bookwriterPeter Stone and director Richard Jones continued to shape and refine the complex, multi-layered story weaving together fact and fiction in an entertaining and intriguing manner. Undoubtedly, the most problematic element of all those endured during the 27 previews was the oft-malfunctioning three-tiered set, which reflected the sinking of the ship as the show progressed with an increasingly raked series of levels upon which the actors inhabited the various classes on the ship – steerage to crow’s nest. It was a massive production and the famous sinking of the ship was addressed in a surprising way, indeed, yet the prospects of the production as a whole looked quite dire as it faced unfavorable reviews once it finally opened and the production was at last finalized and frozen.

Nevertheless, TITANIC quickly became a hit with audiences – thanks in no small part to the fact that the musical found an early champion in Broadway lover and then-talk show queen supreme Rosie O’Donnell, who praised the new musical continually on her daytime TV talk show – and it managed to run more than two years on Broadway, certainly proving early naysayers wrong. So, what precisely is it about TITANIC that made it a must-see musical back in 1997 and also a delectably revival-worthy property today? Why, the performance opportunities amply afforded by that majestic score and smart, sharp book – let alone the inherent real-life historical attributes contained within them!


FLASH FRIDAY: Ship Of Dreams! TITANIC Is Set To Sail Back To Broadway This Fall 

Plus, just take a look at that simply remarkable original Broadway cast, with a number of them in early if not their very first major roles – Michael CerverisVictoria Clark, Brian D’Arcy James, David GarrisonAlma Cuervo,Larry KeithJohn CunninghamBeckyAnn BakerJudith BlazerMartin MoranDavid ElderTheresa McCarthyMichele RagusaTed SperlingHenry StramClarke Thorelland William Youmans, to name but a few! How can this new 2014 production ever hope to possibly match, let alone eclipse that vast assortment of phenomenal talent? Well, with a cast of a dozen or so and an orchestra of about half that size – at least judging by the production this revival will be based on – it will be a smaller scale affair, in any event, but with just as rich acting potential allowed to the ensemble of actors.

Additionally, long before Fall, fans of TITANIC will be able to satiate themselves with the February anniversary reunion concert showcasing the original cast of TITANIC, as well – proving, yet again, that TITANIC lives on… in every age!

Check out my recent InDepth InterView with original TITANIC cast member Victoria Clark discussing the TITANIC reunion, as well as sharing stories from the original production, available here.

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