For a while it seemed in danger of sinking, but the times may be changing for Titanic, the Maury Yeston-Peter Stone Broadway musical that opened at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre April 23.
At first, a number of reviews from the first-night press engendered speculation that the expensive musical had hit the proverbial iceberg. Being all but ignored by the Drama Desk (it won for the only category for which it was nominated: Jonathan Tunick's Orchestration) and Outer Critics Circle Awards didn't help.
But then the show was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical, and reviews published over the past two weeks have been significantly more favorable, with something of a following developing for the show.
Count among the musical's supporters Rosie O'Donnell, talk show host and host of the upcoming Tony Awards. After seeing the show, she went on the air praising it strongly, and Titanic was the first of the major new Broadway musicals to go on her TV show, May 12. The musical will make another appearance on the Rosie O'Donnell Show, May 27, featuring cast members Brian d'Arcy James and Martin Moran. Earlier that morning, Michael Cerveris will appear on Good Day NY on the Fox network (in NY only). On May 29, CBS This Morning will interview John Cunningham, who plays Capt. Smith. Please check local listings for times and channels.
Titanic spokesperson Amy Jacobs said box office receipts were rising, and the RCA Victor CD of the musical has been moved up from July 29 to July 4. For the week ending May 4, Titanic grossed more than $320,000, up more than $41,000 from the previous week. The trend has been steadly upward since mid-April, when daily receipts hovered in the $30-$40,000 range. By the end of the month, the range was from $40,000 60,000 per performance day, with early May seeing the show twice peak at $80,000. The musical follows passengers and crew of the "unsinkable" luxury liner that hit an iceberg in April 1912 and sank, killing more than 1500, and leaving about 700 survivors. The musical's story focuses on the hubris of the ship's masters, and the hopes and dreams of its passengers as they set forth for the New World.
John Cunningham (Zorba, Company), Michael Ceveris (Tommy), David Garrison (Randy Newman's Faust) and Judith Blazer (Hello Again) star in the musical, which has music and lyrics by Yeston (Nine, Grand Hotel) and book by Stone (1776. Cunningham plays the ship's captain; Cerveris plays its builder; Garrison plays its owner, J. Bruce Ismay; Blazer plays Caroline Neville, a British aristocrat hoping to start a new life with the man she loves, in America.
Portraying 43 named characters, along with dozens of other passengers, seamen, stokers, stewards, bellboys, waiters, and ship's orchestra members, will be Adam Alexi-Malle, Melissa Bell, Becky Ann Baker, Matthew Bennett, John Bolton, Jonathan Brody, Bill Buell, Victoria Clark, Mindy Cooper, Allan Corduner, David Costabile, Alma Cuervo (as Ida Straus), John Cunningham (as Capt. Smith), Brian d'Arcy James (as Barrett), Lisa Datz, David Elder, Jody Gelb, Kimberly J. Hester, Erin Hill (Rent), Robin Irwin, John Jellison, Peter Kapetan, Larry Keith, Joseph Kolinski, Theresa McCarthy, Drew McVety, Martin Mora, Michael Mulheren, Stephanie Park, Jennifer Piech, Michele Ragusa, Ted Sperling, Mara Stephens, Don Stephenson, Henry Stram, Andy Taylor, Clarke Thorel, Kaye Walbye and William Youmans.
32 scenes comprise the two-act musical, which begins in Aberdeen, Scotland, 1912. Songs include "In Every Age" (for Cerveris), "The Largest Moving Object," "What A Remarkable Age This Is!", "Still," "Autumn," "No Moon," "I Give You My Hand" and "We'll Meet Tomorrow."
The production is directed by Richard Jones, with choreography by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, sets and costumes by Stewart Laing and lighting by Paul Gallo.
For tickets: (212) 307-4100; outside the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area call (800) 755-4000.