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Titanic the Musical
a Musical
by Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston & Book by Peter Stone

COMPANY : Fabrefaction Theater Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Fabrefaction Theater [WEBSITE]
ID# 4280

SHOWING : April 13, 2012 - April 29, 2012



Paying homage to the 100th anniversary of the most quintessential disaster of the 20th century, Fabrefaction Theatre Company brings the Tony Award winning "Titanic: The Musical" to life. Following the fated path of the “unsinkable” ship, this lovely, grand, and profound musical opera brings new relevance to the terrible event that transpired in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. Featuring a beautiful score and acclaimed lyrics, Titanic: The Musical transports the audience to 1912 as we journey along on the Titanic with her passengers, both young and old. Allow yourself to be pulled into the wave of drama, heartbreak, love, and hope that is the Titanic. Questioning the very nature of the meaning of the word “progress”, social and class strictures, and faith, Titanic: The Musical is much more than just a night at the theatre – it is a night of transformation, redemption, and belief.

Director Jeff McKerley
Props Master/Dialect Coach Tatiana Godfrey
Scenic Designer Jeff Martin
Sound Designer Dan Pope
Musical Director Nick Silvestri
John J. Astor Roger Albelo
Caroline Neville Caleigh Allen
George Widener Joe Arnotti
Edith Corse Evans Alisha Boley
Charlotte Cardoza Erin Burnett
First Officer Murdoch Daniel Burns
Eleanor Widener Lauren Cleland
Harold Bride Daniel Collier
Kate Mullins Emily Diamond
Thomas Andrews Trey Getz
Ida Strauss Glenda Tibbals Gray
Edgar Beane Ray Hilton
Kate McGowan Christina Hoff
Third Officer Pitman/Major Cody Jarrell
Jim Farrell Bryan Lewis
Frederick Fleet Christopher Lewis
Alice Beane Paige Mattox
Henry Etches Jake Mullen
Kate Murphey Lyndsay Ricketson
Isidor Straus Joel Rose
Benjamin Guggenheim Tony Smithey
Charles Clark J.D. Touchton
Captain E.J. Smith Robert Wayne
Mme. Aubert Traci Weisberg
John B. Thayer Eddie Zaboroskie
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Skimming the Surface
by TheatreJock
Sunday, April 22, 2012
It was my first trip to Fabrefaction Theatre for their production of “Titanic: the Musical”. Beautiful venue and their season includes ambitious undertakings. But that ambition did not translate to success for “Titanic” The production fell short of what it could—and should—have been. It skimmed along on the surface, missing far too much of the depth and richness of the legendary voyage and the musical which tells its story.

As the performance progressed I was a bit confused as to what type of performance I was watching. Was this a student production? The very young cast and the number of children indicated that, and, if so, expectations could be lowered accordingly. But some of these children portrayed adults alongside mature performers. Yes, child exploitation was a sign of the times; yes, cabin boys were young; yes, there were children who were lost aboard Titanic and young men and women among her crew—but the way in which children were cast in this show was a bit jarring. In one of the final scenes, a cabin boy reports to the captain that all the life boats are dispatched; the two share a moment because both are named Edward, and then the cabin boy leaves to face a horrible, tortuous death, apparentlhy on his own. The young actor portraying the cabin boy appeared to be 9 or 10.

The set was very, very simple. That in itself is not a bad thing—it does put more pressure on other elements, (lighting, blocking, costumes and mainly performances), to engage the audience’s imagination for filling in the scene and creating the story. In this case, the set seemed miserly…nothing indicated the opulent, majestic, grand Titanic. The lighting only confirmed that fact – it exposed rather than enhanced the elementary design. There was no sense of being onboard a sea-faring palace, but rather standing on the pier watching a parked boat. The projection of period photos of passengers on the stage was an effective touch. Perhaps more could have been done with that idea to enhance the simple set and suggest the "floating city" that was Titanic.

Costumes were also a misstep. Tony Smithey is very talented as his costumes for the recent "Drowsy Chaperone" prove. But costumes here did not reflect the prevalent class system of the day. The opening sequence had passengers from all three classes unified by the color red-- some part of their costume made out of very RED material. Afterwards, third class were dressed in bright, coordinated plaids and colors which did not support characters singing “I want to be a ladies’ maid…sewing girl…constable…”. Beautiful costumes, without a doubt, but not appropriate to story and character. Third class passengers looked like they were waiting to board the Dickens Carolers Holiday Cruise.

Choreography was disappointing. Granted, Titanic is not a dance show, but “The Latest Rag” (named for a dance craze) needed more of the razzle-dazzle of period dances. The number is there to convey the sense of carefree abandon in the "Remarkable Age." Because the children were featured, it had a simplistic, elementary feel. This staging reflected a sense of uninvolvement. The overall direction of the show seemed to be uninvolved-- satisfied with skimming the surface of story and potential.

Fabrefaction has a real issue with its sound. Vocal sounds were full and beautiful ("Fleet" being a stand-out). But the instrumentalists were sadly ill-presented. They certainly performed well—but the sound translated to the house in a very colorless, tinny way--with one dynamic level. Was it an inadequate keyboard or amplification system? It certainly wasn’t a question of performance. Was this why several vocal entrances were fumbled and weak--they couldn't hear? “Titanic’s” score is operatic in scope and rich in color. But these instrumentalists were “sunk” in this production. I would urge Fabrefaction to give serious attention to how their musical shows are accompanied. The orchestra partners with onstage singers and should receive the same care.

Performances were varied in a cast full of energetic, enthusiastic performers and capable singers. No one character is given a great deal of stage time. Second-class passenger Alice Beane was played largely for laughs. Disappointing, because there's a depth to her character that provides great insight into the story of the class system. The trio of Captain, Andrews and Ismay didn’t gel. The Captain did not project a “commanding” or authoritative persona. His characterization seemed more "Skipper" of the SS Minnow than captain of White Star's premiere ship. Andrews, from the show’s beginning, projected a tormented, ill-at-ease persona, almost pouting his way through the show—making his second act breakdown no big surprise. The confidence and arrogance in one’s achievements which opens "Titanic" (and is a hallmark of the “Remarkable Age”), leads to growing tension between the ship’s owner, architect and captain and finally explodes in a “who’s to blame” moment. This was not realized. Yes, we know the end of the story, but these three telegraphed impending doom from the show's beginning, instead of being suddenly confronted with the unthinkable. The book-end song, "In Every Age," should convey two very different emotions.

Fabrefaction is a young company with considerable resources at its disposal. But unfortunately “Titanic” did not present the company to best advantage. It’s a big show, epic and legendary story, large cast, challenging music—but this “ship of dreams” seems adrift---floating on the surface, unmindful of the depth, sadly rudderless, and ultimately foundering without direction. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
100 Years On
by playgoer
Saturday, April 21, 2012
When the post-Broadway tour of "Titanic" visited the Fox a few years ago, the spectacle of the sets was a large part of the attraction. At Fabrefaction, the sets are little more than serviceable. The result is that the focus is on costumes (largely in the red spectrum) and on performances. That is not a bad thing. This is an ensemble show, and the relationships and storyline need to stand out clearly. Here, they do, even with a fair amount of double casting.

I didn't note any bad performances in the production. Some are certainly stronger than others, but so many are strong that it's impossible to name true standouts. Paige Mattox uses her splendid enunciation to great effect as second class, social climbing passenger Alice Bean. Daniel Collier also makes the most of his role as Marconi wireless operator Harold Bride. Even the many children in the cast do splendidly, mixing equal portions of ingenuousness and professionalism to make a favorable impression.

The third-class trio of Kates (Christina Hoff, Emily Diamond, and Lyndsay Ricketson) boast such charisma and sweetly Irish accents in Kates 2 and 3 that it's almost a disappointment that Kate 1 has the juiciest role. Chris Lewis has such a wonderful voice that it's a disappointment he holds focus in just one brief scene as lookout Frederick Fleet. There is so much talent onstage that the disappointments are primarily the lack of opportunity for everyone to shine equally.

Director Jeff McKerley has wisely limited his choreography to synchronized movement across the stage and a few dance steps (with JD Touchton's broad first-class and third-class dance steps being the humorous highlight). With so many actors onstage at some moments, anything more ambitious would have been laughable. A staircase that moves back and forth across the stage is a bit overused, but does a good job of keeping the important character(s) in focus as they stand atop it. Jeff Martin's lighting design helps to highlight the action too.

This focus unfortunately shows up some of the deficiencies in the execution of Tony Smithey's costume design. The captain's coat has misaligned buttons and a puffy bottom hem that would be overlooked if the captain (the wonderful Robert S. Wayne) weren't front and center and perched high on the staircase. The first class passengers' frocks have an elegant design, but some of the trim appears up close to be run-of-the-mill holiday floral ribbon. In a larger auditorium, the costumes would have a more stunning impact. As it is, given a limited budget and schedule, the costumes are amazing. They do the most to delineate the different classes of passengers, since casting doesn't seem to have placed distinctly different types of people in the three classes. (This is a fairly young cast across the board.)

The musical direction of Nick Silvestri is flawless. The show sounds wonderful, with massed choral voices highlighting the vocal power in the cast, and a good balance between voices and accompaniment. It's a bit of a shame that none of the orchestra members are visible, particularly since the orchestra on the Titanic is said to have been playing on as the ship went down.

Maury Yeston's score is powerful and affecting, and Peter Stone's book drives forward with unflagging interest and ever-increasing emotion. Jeff McKerley has shaped the show to milk both the comedy and drama inherent in the shipboard situations. Exactly 100 years after the maiden voyage of the Titanic, Fabrefaction Theatre Company is adding another sterling achievement to its growing list of productions.


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