The cast of Titanic: The Musical takes the stage Saturday

The cast of Titanic: The Musical takes the stage Saturday

Musical stays afloat despite its subject

Windwood Theatricals returns to Vernon Performing Arts centre with Tony award winner Titanic: The Musical.

“Oh, they built the ship Titanic to sail the ocean blue, and they thought they had a ship that the water wouldn’t go through. But the good Lord raised his hand, said the ship would never land. It was sad when the great ship went down…”

For those who sang this song at summer camp growing up, the ramifications of what happened on that cold night on the Atlantic 100 years ago will never be fully understood.

As popular culture indicates, the sinking of the RMS Titanic still fascinates. Almost 15 years to the date after the colossal Oscar winning film by James Cameron was released, the story of the ship that went down is being immortalized in a TV mini series, and now it’s about to come to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre in the form of a Tony award winning musical.

Yes, a musical. And, no, Celine Dion is not involved.

The winner of five Tony awards including, Best Musical, Titanic: The Musical, which plays out at the VPAC Saturday, Oct. 27, recounts the dreams, hopes and aspirations of those aboard the RMS Titanic.

“The story is timely, the music spectacular, and the cast is brilliant,” said Dale Given, who plays Captain E. J. Smith in the show. “You will be captivated by the storyline and fall in love with the travelers, even though you know their fate.”

Written by Peter Stone, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, Titanic: The Musical received universal praise and was lauded for its powerful musical score when it first opened at New York’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on April 23, 1997 (85 years after the ship went down and the same year Cameron’s epic film came out.)

The  story follows the ship’s maiden voyage, and then its collision with the iceberg, played out against the background of rigid class distinctions from the Edwardian age.

The action actually takes place on the ocean floor as ghosts of passengers and crew reenact their last few days aboard the pride of the White Star fleet.

Titanic didn’t win five Tony awards by accident,” said Given. “Our audiences here were blown away.”

Windwood Theatricals has been touring Titanic: The Musical throughout the U.S. and comes to Vernon on the Canadian leg of its tour. The company’s credits include national tours of The Music Man, Cabaret, Bye Bye Birdie, Little Women, and Urban Cowboy the Musical, which have all been previously presented in Vernon.

Titanic: The Musical is no small production to move around, said the VPAC’s audience development coordinator Brian van Wensem.

“It is hands-down the biggest production of the (Vernon Performing Arts Centre) society’s 2012/13 season. The show involves more than 28 actors plus four musicians,” he said. “Adding to the numbers will be a staggering amount of company crew, drivers, and a small army of local crew and volunteers to meet the show’s grand requirements.”

And as Titanic: The Musical falls on what is unofficially Halloween next Saturday, patrons coming to the show are welcome to wear their finest Edwardian-style costume, added van Wensem.

Windwood Theatricals’ Titanic: The Musical, which starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, is the second show in the VPAC’s theatre series. Tickets are $45/adult, $42/senior, $40/student, $5/eyeGO, with discounts for VPAC society members, available at the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.

See http://raven.b-it.ca/portals-code/searchd.cgi?id=2265852&tbname=stories to win two Tickets to Titanic: The Musical.