The five-time Tony Award®-winning Broadway show, Titanic the Musical, the Big Screen treatment as Fathom Events and BY Experience bring a special filmed version to more than 700 movie theaters nationwide for the first time on November 4 and 8.
This stunning production, captured live on stage in the UK for cinema screenings, celebrates the 26th anniversary of the Broadway production and the 10th anniversary of the show’s London premiere.
Titanic the Musical features music and lyrics by Maury Yeston (Nine, Grand Hotel) with story a book by Peter Stone (Woman of the Year, 1776). The pair have collectively won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, an Olivier Award, and three Tony Awards. The original Broadway production of Titanic the Musical opened in 1997 and won five Tonys, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book.
Even if you don’t know the whole story, chances are you know some of the story about one of the greatest sea tragedies of all time, thanks in no small part to that other film by a guy named James Cameron… but I digress.
But just in case you are unfamiliar with the tale, the RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, collided with an iceberg and ‘the unsinkable ship’ sank. 1522 souls were lost as the band played on… many needlessly, as a number of the lifeboats were only half-filled. But that’s another story.
This special production, intentionally staged for filming, offers a unique experience, giving viewers the best of both the theatrical and the movie worlds, and the results are quite lovely to behold. To quote composer and lyricist Maury Yeston, who expresses it far better than I could, “Watching it as a film is a completely different experience than seeing it onstage. This is the best directed production I’ve seen. The cast is perfect. The camera work and all of the close-ups provide a seamless liquidity for the transitions that makes every moment more immediate. I am amazed by the clarity of the sound and the ability to hear every word. I feel very proud of this reimagined film of Titanic the Musical. It’s a grand story about people’s bravery, cowardice and a coming together of humanity. It’s also a story about how we deal with an emergency, how we deal with potential tragedy and how in the final analysis the human spirit is indomitable under the worst circumstances.”
I will honestly admit that 25 years ago, when I first heard they had turned the story of Titanic into a musical, I was bemused. How in the world could you turn such a tragedy into a musical? It would be like turning The Diary of Anne Frank into a song and dance show. I now freely admit that I was wrong.
Titanic the Musical is full of song and dance, to be sure. It is hopeful and uplifting, and it includes characters who are honorable as well as some who are scoundrels who display unwarrented hubris. Yet it is never disrespectful to the memory of those who were lost. Titanic the Musical is filled with wonderful moments, hope-filled moments, and heart-wrenching moments. And though it does indeed depict one of the great disasters of the 20th century, in the end there is a sense of the triumph of the human spirit.
Photos from Titanic the Musical by Pamela Raith. Used by permission.