I Died On The Titanic
News > Theater
Dana Farrington
Friday, April 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM
Font size: A | A | A | A |

In Titanic the musical, that is. My small, California middle school performed the show's West Coast premiere. Thanks to the local community theater, my friends and I were in many musicals growing up and played lots of different parts. But this was my first drowning victim.

I died on the Titanic — in the musical, that is. Titanic opened on Broadway in 1997 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

My small, California middle school performed the show's West Coast premiere. Goodness knows why it hadn't been done before. The curtains rose on our stage in February 2002.

Thanks to the local community theater, my friends and I were in many musicals growing up. I was an orphan twice — in Oliver and Annie — a dancing yellow brick in The Wiz, the baroness in The Sound of Music and a less-than-ladylike secretary in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

But this was my first drowning victim.

The musical was "horrible," according to my parents. Not for lack of talent, of course. Rather, it was sort of depressing watching a bunch of children reenact this horrific event.

We had a hydraulic stage that literally rose on one side to simulate the sinking ship while dramatic music played in the background. In many a rehearsal, we practiced rolling down it (to our deaths).

The real kicker was the end of the show, in which all of us who died sang a haunting song from our watery grave. We were not the lucky ones.

I remember my eighth-grade self really trying to get into the part. We were not playing fictional characters, arms spread over the bow. This musical was based on the lives of real people. We were acting out their personal lives, hopes and dreams. And their tragic deaths. It was, well, creepy.

On the bright side, my mom notes, I got to wear a fabulous, period-style hat.

In a school newsletter in May 2002, one student shared their feelings about ending such a masterpiece.

"Usually when a play is over, I say goodbye to my friends. In this play, I said goodbye to everyone, as we became so close in our sailing on the Titanic." [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]



This article is filed in: Theater, Around the Nation, Performing Arts, News

Also in Theater  
'Kickstart Shakespeare': Of Sonnets, Beer, And Online Fundraising
One New York theater organization is raising money to bring Shakespearean sonnets straight to you.

Audra McDonald: Shaping 'Bess' On Broadway
The actress is up for her fifth Tony Award for her performance in the musical Porgy and Bess.

What Inspires Singer Simone
Actress and singer Lisa Celeste is better known by her stage name, Simone. She's the daughter of the late legendary singer Nina Simone, and she's appeared on Broadway in musicals such as Rent and Aida. As part of the series, In Your Ear, she shares the songs on her personal playlist.

A Test Of Hearts, Minds And 'Hands On A Hardbody'
A new musical based on a documentary follows the contestants of a Texas car dealership competition.

A Gershwin Biopic That Ain't Necessarily So True
Rhapsody in Blue, the 1945 film biopic of George Gershwin, has just been released on DVD.

Comments  
Post a Comment