THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

REVIEWS

<em>Titanic</em>&nbsp;at Lyric Stage

Review: Titanic | Lyric Stage | Carpenter Performance Hall


Who Needs a Bigger Boat?

Not when you have a revival of Maury Yeston's Titanic as peerless as the one at Lyric Stage.



published Thursday, June 19, 2014

Photo: James Jamison
Mark Oristano and Mary Gilbreath Grim in Titanic at Lyric Stage

Irving — Hearing the score of Titanic played with full orchestration makes the argument for using all the intended musicians—as is Lyric Stage’s mission—as obvious as arguing for using all the intended feathers in your pillow. With all that lush fullness enveloping your head, who would argue for less?

The better to beckon dreams.

And what dreams come as Jay Dias orchestrates those feathers in a score by Maury Yeston that combines, at times, water’s soft rippling caress with it’s sharp final crash. The smooth passage between them bears the mark of a sure hand. Credited for music direction, conducting and scene work, it’s clear who’s manning this ship. Though Margaret Hayden is responsible for recreating Drew Scott Harris’ original staging, the jewel of this show is Dias’ careful mix of voices, solo and choral, with the sumptuous tension building undulations of the full orchestra.

It’s pinch-yourself good. 

Titanic is staged on Phil Hickox’s spare scaffolding set with a simplicity reverent enough to be performed on the graves of the 1500 lost souls. Many of the numbers contain a stage picture of the ensemble arrayed in standing rows. It’s frequently reminiscent of a graveyard and contains the same rigid power. How else to make sense of the enormity of the calamity? From the opening number when they get their first sight of the ship to the ending farewell tableau, it’s hard to improve on the simple formality of humans grappling with something so much greater than them, whether it’s their passage across the sea or the passage beyond.

Photo: James Jamison
"The Kates" in Titanic at Lyric Stage

This isn’t to say the show is remote. Beyond Titanic’s inherent Icarus image of man’s mechanical hubris, the writer, Peter Stone, wisely ties us to as many of the individual passenger stories as possible. To that end, Mary Gilbreath Grim plays Alice Beane, the celebrity-gawking second-class passenger who squeals the details of the well-to-do to her hardware-selling, Indiana husband, Edgar Beane (the equally entertaining Mark Oristano).  Grim turns the task of exposition into a needed occasion for levity and sets up future fun as she tries to infiltrate the upper echelons only to be thwarted by the grinning and graceful Randy Pearlman playing the First Class Steward.

Names like Gugenheim and Astor litter the fancy dinner draped in inventive white table cloth staging with props mimed in front of a sheet stretched wide. The passage’s passage of time is accomplished here at the captain’s dinner with conversation punctuated by Martin Antonio Guerra’s buffoonish Major Archibald Willingham Butt and his endless adventure stories. Threaded through are the messages of icebergs to the captain (a steady James Williams) and the constant urging to go faster by the mustachioed Greg Dulcie as White Star line big wig, Joseph Bruce Ismay. The triangle of tension between these two and the ship’s designer, Thomas Andrews Jr., (a stunning Ryan Appleby) foreshadow their ill fortune. It makes for some great singing, however.

Among the lower class are the Kates: Murphey, Mullins and McGowen (Katie Moyes Williams, Erika Larsen and Kylie Arnold, respectively). Though they are all lovely, the finding love plotline belongs to Arnold and Drew Shafranek. But as darling as they are they can’t compare to the duet between the coal shoveling, Anthony Fortino, and the radio operator, Aaron C. White, who helps him send a marriage proposal home to his girl.

Lest you think that all the love is locked in steerage, the first-class Straus’ have a more mature running romance. Jay Taylor and Lois Sonnier Hart provide a pristine example of a stable relationship and are rewarded with a late, late duet in which the characters show us how it’s done.

As many great moments as there are in the evening the two that are the most hair-raising are the least alike. One is a showstopper and the other, a starter. When Appleby takes the stage in the opening number, “In Every Age,” he takes the audience back to the time and place of Titanic. Standing alone next to a model, with a voice as strong and luxurious as that famous ship, it’s hard to know how the show will get better. Chills spread through Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Performance Hall despite the Texas heat outside.

The show-stopping sequence “To the Lifeboats,” on the other hand, is a company effort. Working as ensemble, as well as, distinct characters the sinking ship becomes an individual dilemma, as there aren’t enough spaces on the lifeboats for everyone. Tension and terror climax into a resigned acceptance as the last lifeboat pulls away achieved simply by the group moving up the aisle away from the stage. Despite the challenge of many moving parts and multiple internal reprises, the company triumphs here with a powerfully shaped number that will leave you breathless.

Despite the sad tale, the show achieves a hopeful message. In front of a last stunning visual splash courtesy of Ryan Matthieu Smith’s costumes, it’s clear that the lifeboats will be found. Life will go on. But, the show isn’t about preserving life at all costs. Titanic, represents great folly, of course, but the creators of this show recognize that the risk inherent in the great ship unites the characters inside her as well. To risk is to hope for something better. What’s life without risk? What’s more human than hope?

In the end, we’re all in the same boat. Thanks For Reading





Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Who Needs a Bigger Boat?
Not when you have a revival of Maury Yeston's Titanic as peerless as the one at Lyric Stage.
by David Novinski

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center John Corigliano at TCU Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit