The story of the Titanic has captivated imaginations since the great ship sank in 1912, taking with it over a 1,000 lives. It has inspired numerous adaptations over the years across all media, from books to television to film and, in 1997, to both a film and a musical adaptation, both critically acclaimed and award-winning. MUSKET will be performing the Broadway musical “Titanic,” the winner of five Tony awards, this weekend at the Power Center.

Although they share the same title and source material, James Cameron’s film and Maury Yeston and Peter Stone’s musical have less in common than one would expect. While Cameron’s “Titanic” centers primarily around an insipid love story and a fortune’s worth of special effects, Yeston and Stone’s musical truly encapsulates many of the themes that the movie only glosses over. “Titanic” revives the lost hopes of so many passengers on the “ship of dreams,” exploring the promise of new beginnings, the division of social classes and the timeless struggle between man and nature.

One of the most striking aspects of the musical is that many of the characters are based directly on real people. “Titanic” is not merely a fabricated plot line pasted into a historically accurate setting. The authenticity of the story adds even more strength to an already powerful production, filled with highly expressive and moving songs that range in emotion from the purest hope and optimism to the deepest despair.

“‘Titanic’ is about man’s genuine desire to create and accomplish gone awry,” says School of Music senior and director Ian Eisendrath. “J. Bruce Ismay, owner of the White Star Line, became solely interested in speed, fame, and progress. Captain E.J. Smith played fast and loose with his tremendous power and responsibility. Thomas Andrews, designer and shipbuilder, grew obsessed with achieving artistic and technological perfection. When their ship collided with an iceberg, over two-thousand hopes, dreams, and lives collided as well.”

MUSKET’s production of “Titanic” is intended to be highly personal, placing its greatest emphasis on telling the stories of the ship’s passengers, rather than attempting to depict its actual, physical sinking. A thrust stage will be used to decrease the physical distance between the actors and the audience, drawing theatergoers into the story.

Rebecca Winston, graduate student in the School of Social Work and stage manager, commented on some of the challenges of putting on such a big production.

“I would say that the most difficult part has been making due with the short amount of time we’ve had to work in the Power Center. It’s very different from our rehearsal space, and making the show work there in less than a week has been a challenge, but we’re lucky to have a very dedicated cast and crew. Everyone has been working really hard to make the show a success.”

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