“Titanic” sails into Westchester Broadway Theatre

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 1:00 pm By: Solange De Santis Source: All About Armonk
“Titanic” sails into Westchester Broadway Theatre
By Solange De Santis
Photos by John Vecchiolla

The 1997 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, “Titanic,” is being launched again in a new, intimate production and has docked at Westchester Broadway Theatre direct from rave reviews in London. It is scheduled to run until Feb. 23, then steams toward Toronto before a Broadway berth. 

Last night, composer Maury Yeston was in attendance at the venerable Elmsford dinner theater, where the menu features four entrees served on the great ship and a wine/rum punch named after the White Star line. Yeston’s score won a Tony, as did the late Peter Stone’s book, Jonathan Tunick’s orchestrations, Stewart Laing’s scenic design and the musical itself.
This revised version, directed by a member of the original cast, Don Stephenson, features a nearly-bare stage, a set wall of luggage and packages, a high frame representing the legendary ship’s bridge and projections of the grand staircase, starry night, etc., to deepen the action.
Without special effects (apart from the projections) or large set pieces, this “Titanic” focuses on relationships and the people who made up the dynamic, class-conscious society of about 2,200 on the “largest moving object in the world.” The cast now numbers about 20, rather than the 60 in the original show.

The story is by now so familiar -- the gigantic ship collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank on her April, 1912 maiden voyage, with only about 700 survivors in too-few lifeboats -- that audiences need something new in any re-telling. Here, WBT’s “Titanic” brilliantly delivers an evening of passion and poignancy, with Yeston’s gorgeous score packing an emotional charge.

Of those connected with the ship, stolid Capt. Smith (William Parry) contends with ambitious owner Bruce Ismay’s (Adam Heller) desire for more speed and faster records as he leads his officers Murdoch (Jonathan Brody) and Lightoller (Will Boyajian). In first class, Macy’s owner Isidor Strauss (David Studwell) and wife Ida (Kay Walbye) enjoy the sumptuous accommodations, along with the Astors, the Wideners and other members of the pre-World War I, pre-income tax era.
In second class, Alice Beane (Donna English) strives to get a peek at the top hats and evening gowns in the first class “saloons” while husband Edgar Beane (Philip Hoffman) humors her. Charles Clarke (Noah Plomgren) and Caroline Neville (Patricia Noonan) are heading to America to be married. In third class, three Irish girls named Kate (Sarah Charles, Celeste Rose and Elizabeth Hake) all dream of a better life in America as a lady’s maid or a governess.

Butler Henry Etches (Drew McVety, who also doubles the role of Third Officer Pitman) sees that the