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January 18, 2011 > Theatre: Titanic the Musical in Concert

Theatre: Titanic the Musical in Concert

By Alissa Gwynn

"I'll be aboard that ship of dreams," the ensemble's voices ring out together, immediately conveying Titanic's majesty within the first few minutes of the musical. In Stage 1 Theater's production of Titanic the Musical in Concert, actors and singers bring the age-old story of the Titanic to life.

Everyone is familiar with the basic story: the largest passenger steamship in the world, Titanic, sets off on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and hits an iceberg. Ultimately, 1,517 passengers died as the ship sank at 2:20 a.m. on April 14, 1912 resulting in one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history.

Staying true to the director's note, the musical is more than just a history lesson. Rather than focusing solely on the timeline of events and trying to recreate a sinking ship onstage, actors focus instead on the journey of many passengers aboard the Titanic. Although the performance relies heavily on audience imagination, it is not difficult task combining the beautiful music by Maury Yeston and emphatic performances on stage.

Clearly, the production's strength lies in numbers; the most powerful and inspiring scenes are when passengers - first through third class - harmonize together. Even with minimal sets and props - often rows of folding chairs - the large cast is able to instill a realistic atmosphere.

Clever touches included "boarding passes," mini-bios of some of the real-life passengers on board Titanic, distributed to the audience along with the programs. In addition, a realistic-looking ramp leading onstage looks as if passengers are boarding the Titanic. Screens on both sides of the stage projected images of the real Titanic providing historical context to many of the scenes onstage.

Stage 1 has put together a superb musical that honors and commemorates victims of Titanic.

Titanic the Musical in Concert
Stage 1 Theater
Friday & Saturday, Jan 21, 22
8 p.m.

Sunday, Jan 23
2:30 p.m.
Newark Memorial High School Theater
39375 Cedar Boulevard, Newark
(510) 791-0287

Tickets: $10-$20

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