By MICHELLE JACOBY
The Titanic represented the ship of hopes and dreams to all of the passengers on board on April 10, 1912. Little did they know their dreams would be shattered as the unthinkable happened four days later.
We all know the story and the ending. It is recorded as one of the worst disasters in history. The untold story here is the one showing at Westchester Broadway Theatre this month.
In this production, the talented Don Stephenson, director, and his collaboration with Maury Yeston, music and lyrics, and Liza Gennaro, choreographer, successfully portrays the 1997 Tony Award winning show “Titanic” on a much smaller scale.
“Titanic” was one of the most expensive productions in Broadway history. In the original production, Stephenson played Charles Clark. He felt it was a shame that “Titanic” could not be done more often. As a result, Stephenson went to work creating a new adaptation of the story.
The score only required six musicians compared to the more than 30 needed on Broadway. The sets were scaled down and the cast of 20 doubled and tripled up on roles.
The stage is set to increase the intimacy of the relationships on board, giving the audience an accurate account of what happened on April 14, 1912.
Images of the grand ship take up the back wall of the stage as photos of passengers that climbed on board that day flash in black and white. Eerie sounds echo throughout the theatre as the Titanic hits the iceberg and handwritten excerpts from the journal display on the wall, recounting the descent of the sinking ship.
When faced with danger, human emotion takes over and socioeconomic issues come into play: upper class versus working class, bravery versus cowardice and selfishness versus love.
The phenomenal cast and crew recreate history with their song and dance. Donna English as Alice Beane, Philip Hoffman as Edgar Beane, Drew McVety as Henry Etches, Kate Walbye as Ida Strauss, Adam Heller as J. Bruce Ismay, William Parry as Captain Smith and Tom Hewitt as Thomas Andrews. The three working class Kates: Sarah Charles, Elizabeth Hake and Celeste Rose give an inspirational performance with the song “Lady’s Maid.” Will Boyajian as Lighttoller, Xander Chauncey as Frederick Barrett and Christian Palmer as Fleet are ones to watch in the passionate roles they play.
The production also features musical direction by Ian Weinberger; set design by Patrick Rizzotti; lighting design by Andrew Gmoser, sound design by Jonathan Hatton and Mark Zuckerman and costume design by Derek Lockwood
and Ryan Moller.
While the tale is old, the story is fresh, the music is alive and the performances are emotional and energetic. This Bob Stutler and Bob Funking production of “Titanic” is playing now through Feb. 23. For more information call 914-592-2222 or visit the website at broadwaytheatre.com.