'Titanic: the Musical' set to drop anchor in the Springs Friday
What: The touring production of the Tony award-winning musical
Where: Arnold Hall, United States Air Force Academy, 2303 Cadet Drive (exit 156B off I-25)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $30-$48, plus a $4 handling fee; 333-4497, ticketmaster.com
Next up for Academy Concerts: John Tesh Holiday Show on Dec. 7
Something else: A pictorial history of Titanic will be on display in the lobby.
Due to make port in the Springs tonight: "Titanic: the Musical." And they don't expect to hit any icebergs.
The national touring production of "Titanic: the Musical" drops anchor at Arnold Hall at the Air Force Academy on Friday night.
This production is in the midst of 38-performance, three-month tour and the show is riding on the coattails of history. This year is 100th anniversary of the world's most famous iceberg collision. There is still one more major obstacle to overcome.
"People come expecting the story from the movie," said Jacqueline Whelan Heron, who is the company manager and cast member. "But are pleasantly surprised by what they see. It was actually written before the (1997 James Cameron) movie and the music is just spectacular."
The musical was a surprise hit on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards in 1997, including best musical and orchestration. This production arrives with a cast of 26, a music director/conductor and four soloists (violin, trumpet, trombone and keyboard), who perform with a pre-recorded soundtrack.
"There's very much an alive feel to the sound," Heron says.
The music and lyrics are the work of the Maury Yeston, who also composed the music for "'Nine" and "Grand Hotel."
"It's old-fashioned singing, more like 'Phantom of the Opera' and Sondheim," said cast member Ricky Pope, performing in his third production of "Titanic." "It's a beautiful piece of singing theater."
The Tony Award-winning book is by the late Peter Stone, who also wrote "1776" and "Woman of the Year." And yes, Stone also is responsible for the musical about the other most famous sailing vessel in history, "Two by Two," a comedy based upon Noah's Ark.
"It's a story about real people: the people who were on the ship that died," said Heron of "Titanic." "I play Ida Straus, the wife of Isidor Straus (who owned Macy's department store at the time of Titanic's sinking). It's a wonderful love story. She wouldn't get on the lifeboat without him. No matter what happened, she was going to stick with him until the end."
You'll meet a boatful of characters, all either actual passengers on this fateful voyage or composites of a number of people. As it was on Titanic, passengers are divided into three classes. Much of the musical's richness comes from the contrast between them.
Pope plays a character from a fourth group: the crew and the staff of Titanic. As he has in all the productions he's played in, he'll bring back to life Henry Etches, a steward who deals with passengers from first, second and third class.
"He actually survived the sinking, went down with the ship and was pulled into a life boat," he says. "It's very different from just creating a character. I feel like I have some responsibility to the story because there are people who are still alive who are related to him. It's not your normal musical."
Although you won't actually see Titanic sink on the Arnold Hall stage, there is enough drama on board to assure a powerful impact.
"Theatrically, it's very much like a Greek tragedy," Pope says. "Act One is very exciting and uplifting and Act Two takes everyone, cast and audience, down into the depths."
The cast and crew of Titanic continue on their own voyage traveling as much as 600 miles a day to make and evening performance.
"It's a great cast," Pope says. "These are awesome people to be traveling with. We're very bonded. We're focused on doing a play in which there is no one star and everyone has at least one moment to shine."