It seems like everywhere you look these days you see something on theTitanic, the ship that sank in 1912 killing more than half on board.There was the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Therewere also endless documentaries, not to mention entire sections inbookstores dedicated to the doomed ship. But I have another chapter toadd to our obsession with the hunk of ill-fated steel: it's Broadway'snew musical "Titanic."
Overall, this play is prettygood. There is no real "plot" besides the ship sinking. Thereare a bunch of mini-plots with different characters. For instance, acharacter in second class, Alice Beane (Victoria Clark) spends most ofthe play trying to get to first class to see all the millionaires. Insteerage class all the passengers dream of a new life in America,especially a woman named Kate McGowen (Jennifer Piech) whose one-nightstand left her pregnant and lost. In the engine room a worker namedFredrick Barrett (Brian d'Arcy James) hopes he can someday see his loveagain.
The lyrics are clever. The music is simple but effective.Of course, some songs are better than others. The script is well-writtenand the characters well-developed, even those who really lived are wellacted and believable. My personal favorite character was Harold Bride(Martin Moran), the radio man, whose character seems like a modern-daycomputer geek placed in 1912. Even his simplest lines were deliveredwell and were hilarious.
The best part of the whole play is theset. Wow!! There are basically three platforms. The top is the bridge orthe deck, the middle has the promenade decks and the bottom is thesmoking room. Then the crow's nest is lowered from the top of thetheatre with the look-out man in it. When the ship is sinking ... well,I don't want to spoil it. You have to see it for yourself. It isamazing!!
One weak point are some of the costumes. In "Doingthe Latest Rag" number, the costumes scared me. One of thecharacters (the only child, by the way), Jack Thayer, wore a fuchsia topand turquoise knickers. Now if that isn't scary, I don't know what is.Another Achilles' heel is that there are too many characters. Thewriters should have eliminated some to avoid confusion.
Otherwise, I think "Titanic" is worth seeing. Eventhough it costs an arm and a leg to see, it is very entertaining and itisn't totally depressing. It also isn't as long as the movie..
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.