For those of you musical lovers who may also be history buffs, Split Stage Productions has a wonderful opportunity for indulging both of your interests at once in the form of Titanic: The Musical, running from June 14 – 22 at The Lamp Theatre. The musical, book by Peter Stone and music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, debuted at the same time as James Cameron’s blockbuster hit, but has only the subject matter in common with the 1997 movie. Jack and Rose are not a feature of the story. The focus is spread out over several different characters, from the designer, owner, and crew of the Titanic to passengers from the first, second, and third classes on board.
Split Stage has chosen a unique way to stage their particular production: in the round. In fact, they have refurbished the theater space specifically for this purpose. Director Brady Patsy says this was inspired by another unique production of the musical: “Last August I had the privilege to travel to Atlanta, Georgia with my fiancé and a couple of my friends to see a production of the show that they performed outdoors on a lake…It was the most transcending theater experience I have ever had.” As he acknowledged, it is impossible to provide a full lake in the space of the Lamp Theatre, but he wanted to give a similar feel to his production. “I believe that it will give our audience a chance to feel like they are reliving the event as it happened 107 years ago. It puts you at arm’s length with the actors who are BRILLIANTLY bringing all of these historical figures back to life and honoring their memory.”
Like most musicals, it features a large cast, 34 actors to be precise, but it does not feature a single or even a couple of protagonists. Instead, it showcases voices from every part of the ship. There are familiar names for the Titanic-knowledgeable, like Thomas Andrews, Bruce Ismay, and Captain E. J. Smith; but there are also Edgar and Alice Beane (based on Edward and Ethel Beane) from second class, and Kate McGowan and Kate Mullins in third class. And each voice is important, since the focus is not centered on one or two figures. Mr. Patsy finds himself particularly moved by Isidor and Ida Strauss, whose love and commitment to each other endures even in the thick of tragedy.
The work that went into transforming the space was truly a labor of love, and involved almost as much collaboration as the musical itself. The staff at The Lamp Theater provided a great deal of support and time, and Mr. Patsy credits them as the most instrumental in the project. They were headed up by Rob Jessup and Nate Newell, the leaders of Split Stage. Mr. Jessup also aided in the design of the set. Putting on a great show always demands a lot of effort and devotion and the crew behind Titanic: The Musical has gone that much further for their audience in reworking the space. If you are looking for a night of theatre, history, and moving stories, this might be the show for you.
For ticket information about Split Stage and ticket information for Titanic, visit their site.