You've seen Titanic the Tony-winning musical, you've seen Titanic the Oscar-winning film. Now, compare them.
How do they rate in terms of storytelling, drama, emotional involvement, character development, use of technology, use of music, etc.? What are the respective strengths of the two approaches?
Send your responses to Playbill On-Line Managing Editor Robert Viagas. Here are the results so far. Playbill thanks in advance all who take the time to write.
From Schreiner, Page:
It is a first in the history of the arts to have a Best Musical and Best Picture - side by side -- the same subject -- the same title - both being produced the same year -- yet -- two completely different versions! Incredible! And I think both versions deserve the awards given to them!
My only regret about the musical, book wise, is that Molly Brown was completely cut. I'm sure when the musical was being put together that there was concern not to have the musical turn into "The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Part II", but I do feel that, because she was a real person on board, and becoming famous after the tragedy, she should have at least been written in a few scenes, even if projected on a small scale. Technically, the show was flawless - considering it is all done on stage!
It isn't fair to compare the stage and film versions technically, each are excellent in their own right! The motion picture was so detailed about the ship in every aspect, due to James Cameron. Unlike the musical in which everyone used was a real person according to fact, 'Jack' and 'Rose' were fiction around real individuals. I'm sure in reality there must have been a similar romance, but we will never know for sure. In the film I do wish Mr. & Mrs. Isador Strouse were a little more characterized - as in the musical they do stand out beautifully!
Yes - each version emphasized more or less on certain people. And the two are so different -- yet -- alike. Rather than "Titanic" vs. "Titanic", I feel the two "compliment each other" in a very unique way that will never happen again in the history of the arts!
Titanic the musical is far superior to Titanic the movie. There are certain emotions that cannot be conveyed by words (esp. when you have a horribly weak script), such as "we're about to drown on a sinking ship." When such emotions arise, musical theatre always manages to express these emotions beautifully- "If tomorrow is not in store let this embracing replace forever, keep us together ever more..."- while movies don't quite get it- "Jack, this is where we first met."
Naturally, the movie is technologically superior, the sinking is one of the most unbelievable things I have ever seen in my life, but that's IT. I felt more emotionally attached to the characters in the musical after the 10 minute opening number than I did to Jack and Rose after the first hour and a half. While the sinking was amazing, and I did, in fact, cry because of the sheer horror of the situation, I honestly couldn't have cared less if Jack lived or died (we knew she lived... I sort of figured he just couldn't...).
My biggest problem with the movie was that it revolved around two characters and a love affair that I thought were trite, boring, and really annoying. The music within the movie is excellent, but if I hear that damned Celine Dion song one more time I'm going to punch someone... can't say that about any of the songs in the musical... I would sleep on the street for $20 Titanic show tickets before paying $8 for Titanic movie tickets any day.
From Ron Sudol:
I saw the musical twice before seeing the film, and that sequence may have influenced my opinion that the musical is far superior in every category except the realism made possible by film technology. The film is truly outstanding in providing a powerful sense of the ship and its sinking.
But after being ravished by the musical's carefully controlled emotional appeals and its terrific score, I found the film tedious and unaffecting and its plot and much of its dialogue to be cliche-ridden and sometimes laughable. I felt sorry for the actor who had to play the horrid part of the fiance, and even the wonderful Kathy Bates was no match for the idiotic words attributed to Molly Brown.
The plodding, linear narrative in the film is just not up to the demands of this great tragedy. It demands the kind of artfulness that the musical form makes possible. When I first heard a musical was being written about the sinking of Titanic, I thought it was a terrible idea. Now I realize the story can't be told any other way. The musical's efficient blending of characterization, song, and theme is transcendent and incandescent, and it reaffirms what wonders can be achieved in our indigenous art form.
Think of how much is accomplished in the duet between the stoker and the telegraph operator -- to cite just one of many possible examples of how the musical form can bring us to the heart of the matter.
Hmm, this will be a tough comparison. First of all, I loved both the musical and the movie - but for different reasons. I thought the musical's characters were not drawn out enough, however, thereby causing little emotions to be provoked. At the movie, I nearly cried, but I didn't. So I guess it had a bit more emotional oomphh.
The musical had wonderful music and I love the storytelling method through the witty lyrics, although it would've been nice to have been a bit more attached to the characters. But I think the music in the show is very fitting to the tragedy and it is also very memorable, even though many people (especially the critics) thought it isn't. I, personally, find it entrancing.
The movie's music, while also beautiful, is very repetitive. But "My Heart Will Go On" amazes me every time I hear it. The movie's storytelling method (in flashback) was pure genius. And I thought Gloria Stuart did a wonderful job as old Rose. The rest of the acting, while good enough to move the story along, was mediocre. Standouts in Broadway's Titanic, in my opinion, include Vicki Clark, Brian d'Arcy James, David Garrison, Michael Cerveris (spelling?), and the actress who plays Kate McGowan, the pregnant one (I'm sorry, but her real name escapes me right now). The sets in the movie Titanic obviously outdid Broadway's, but that's to be expected. However, the sinking of the ship night after night in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre is remarkably well done for the stage. Finally, the two versions have both overcome incredible odds to become huge hits. That's an achievement in itself!
Congratulations to both. And, since I love both Titanics, I can't decide which version I like better. I knew the movie would eventually lose steam, but I hope the show just keeps right on playing into its tenth successful year. Gee, the musical shows you how much the critics know about audience's tastes. Nice try, but you couldn't sink it! Sail on Titanics!
I must say that the musical was SO much better than the movie. I got more emotional when the ship sank because they actually focused on more than one couple. That way when it sank, I didn't feel like only two people were in danger. I must say I was disappointed in the extremely predictable movie. It's not all it's cracked up to be. Also, Leonardo was not in the musical. (Thank God)!!!
From Pat Thacker (Dublin, Ohio):
I felt that Titanic, the Musical, was far superior to the movie in every way.
Titanic, the movie was a love story with the Titanic as a backdrop. I was disappointed that the ship only entered the story as a foil for the lovers. The movie was merely a Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle with a few good visual effects and nothing more. Furthermore, camera tricks are far easier to accomplish in a movie via Industrial Light and Magic than having the ship sink on stage! (I pored over the issue of TCI that explained how this wonder was created on stage...)
Titanic, the musical, is a story about the Titanic... the ship and the people, as well as their struggles, their hopes, their dreams, their destiny. I felt that the musical was more powerful from a dramatic standpoint... an example was the scene in the grand salon when the cart quietly rolls by and the passengers come to their first realization of what might actually be happening to them. I could feel a palpable chill in the air. The music is superb and memorable (and not some over-played, watered-down, Celine Dion piece of sentimental sap!). The musical has my vote!