I have been curious about the musical Titanic ever since it opened on Broadway. The task of putting the story of this doomed ship on stage, let alone making a musical of it, seemed daunting to say the least, perhaps even foolhardy. During the Broadway previews the show was plagued with technical problems and bad word-of-mouth. Somehow the show got its problems fixed and went on to play 804 performances and win five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Peter Stone received a Tony for the book and Maury Yeston got one for the music. The musical is hardly ever done because of the size of the cast and all the technical problems involved in representing the deaths of hundreds and the sinking of this “unsinkable” luxury liner.
Musical Theatre Guild of Pasadena is a venturesome lot, consisting of the best singers in LA, and used to putting on musicals, book in hand, with only 25 hours of rehearsal. The presentation is like a staged reading/concert version. But pull it off they did using the incredible talents of 29 of their members under the capable direction of Calvin Remsberg with musical direction by Julie Lamoureux. I could list all the actors involved but all of them did a wonderful job. I particularly liked Doug Carfrae, fresh from the Las Vegas Phantom) as the Captain, Dan Calloway as the ship’s designer, and Stan Chandler as the pompous owner of the line.
The results were remarkable, with actors moving about the stage, some playing multiple characters, smoothly and purposefully. Even more remarkable was the sound these actors produced. I had never heard the score but it is lavish, exciting, moving, and with great harmonies and choral sections.
The production only played one night in Glendale at the Alex Theatre but they are repeating the show in Thousand Oaks on September 30 at the Civic Arts Plaza.