A Night to Remember “Titanic”
By Skip Sheffield
A musical based on one of the worst maritime disasters of all time?
Yes, such is “Titanic: The Musical,” running through Feb. 5 in the Amaturo Theatre of Broward Center.
Slow Burn Theatre artistic director and choreographer Patrick Fitzwater likes to mount shows you don’t see everywhere. “Titanic” certainly fits that description. Like the luxury passenger ship for which it is named, “Titanic” is unlikely to become a staple of summer stock or community theater. For one thing the cast is huge, with a cast of 20; some of them doubling parts. The musical score is complicated, with songs providing exposition of a many-faceted story of various social classes. The music is not hit-worthy. No “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” or “Some Enchanted Evening” here. Instead we have “How Did They Build The Titanic,” “The Largest Object,” “I Must Get on that Ship” and “Wake Up, Wake Up.” There are some nice love songs with “I Give You My Hand,” with Caroline (Alexa Baray) and Charles (Justen Fox-Hall) and “I Have Danced” with Alice (Leah Marie Sessa) and Edgar (James A. Skibar), but most are just serviceable. The closest thing to an anthem is “In Every Age,” which opens and makes a grand finale.
With so many characters, it is hard to focus on individuals. Ismay (Andrew Rodriguez-Triana) is the clear villain as the White Star executive who insisted the Captain (David Hyman) push the R.M.S. Titanic to its limits while taking a time-saving but riskier course to the north. If there is a hero, it’s young Barrett (Landon Summers), who remains stiff upper lip along with Andrews (Matthew Korinko), who go down with the ship. A special notice should go to first-class passengers Ida and Isador Strauss (Ann Marie Olson and Troy J. Stanley), who sing the most moving ballad of all, “Still.”
“Titanic” is a mixed bag. Slow Burn is admirable for attempting such an ambitious project, but unless you are a Titanic fanatic (and there are many), it can be a long slow journey to disaster. Many people loved the 1997 James Cameron movie “Titanic,” which focused on two lovers played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. My favorite remains “A Night To Remember;” a black-and-white 1958 British movie I saw as a boy. I’ll never forget the sight of the band continuing to play as the ship went down. The musicians, as well as the Captain, the bellboys and most of third class went down with the ship. Now that was drama.
Tickets are $47-$60. Call 800-745-3000 or 954-462-0222 or go to www.browardcenter.org.