By: Paulanne Simmons
The Titanic will be afloat once more (at least for a while) on Feb. 17, when Manhattan Concert Productions stages a one-night concert performance of Titanic: The Musical at Lincoln Centerʼs Avery Fis
For younger audiences, this will be a chance to get to know this Tony Award-winning musical. For older audiences, it will be an opportunity to once again hear Maury Yestonʼs sumptuous score. But for the cast it will be a reunion of friends and colleagues. The concert will feature almost the entire cast from the original Broadway musical, directed by Don Stephenson.
Reflecting on the upcoming show, John Cunningham, who plays Captain E.J. Smith, says, "If it hadnʼt been such a wonderful experience, I wouldnʼt be here." He explains that the camaraderie of the first show made it something of a "love fest."
Does Cunningham see the captain as the villain in the show? Not at all. In fact, Cunningham says Smith was just about to retire when he took over the ship as a favor to old friends and colleagues. In "The Blame," the song Smith sings with Bruce Ismay, director of the White Star Line and Thomas Andrews, designer of the ship, responsibility is thoroughly explored.
Over one hundred years after the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean, it still captures our imagination, as proven by the numerous books and films it has spawned. John Jillian, who will portray second class passenger Edgar Beane, thinks this fascination has a lot to do with our own speculation about what we would do in such a life-and-death situation.
"We all want to know," he said. "But we donʼt.
Thank goodness most of us will never be put in the position of those onboard the Titanic. But it is certainly a titillating experience watching the disaster play out on stage.