Original Broadway Cast Recording with Michael Cerveris
By Maury Yeston, Peter Stone
Unlike the boat it's named after, this show truly rose from the bottom. Despite detractors predicting doom before it had even opened, Titanic overcame hectic previews and endless technical problems to win a Tony for best musical and turn into a commercial success. Despite the fact that favorite performers like Judith Blazer or Victoria Clark disappear in the crowd and don't get solos of note, the show still manages to bring to life affecting characters. Maury Yeston's (Grand Hotel) score has the required majesty without ever being turgid, and the choral work he coaxes from his ensemble is eminently powerful. Though it requires a fair amount of attention on the listener's part, Titanic is also surprisingly emotional--its majestic finale packs more punch than 3 hours of Leonardo DiCaprio. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
David Garrison, Michael Cerveris and John Cunningham
Titanic CDProduced for Records by Tommy Krasker and Maury Yeston Recorded and Mixed by Joel Moss Assistant Engineers: Paul Falcone, Ken Ross, Rob Murphy Recorded on April 2, 1997, at the Hit Factory's Studio 1, New York City A&R Administration: Michelle Ryang A&R Assistant: Regina Elliott A&R Direction: Bill Rosenfield Album Art Direction: Rich Dombrowski Titanic Logo Design: Doug Johnson, @ 1997 Photos: Joan Marcus Page Layout/Design: James Lum Libretto Preparation: Emily King
Titanic opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on April 23, 1997. Musical Numbers ACT ONE 1- Overture/Prologue: In Every Age 3:25 Michael Cerveris The Launching: 2 - How Did They Build Titanic? 1:29 Brian d'Arcy James 3- There She Is 3:56 Brian d'Arcy James, Martin Moran, David Elder, Henry Stram, Michael Mulheren, Ted Sperling, William Youmans Loading Inventory William Youmans, Matthew Bennett, John Bolton, Andy Taylor, Adam Alexi-Malle, John Cunningham, David Costabile, Mara Stephens with: Melissa Bell, Johnathon Brody, Allan Corduner, David Elder, Brian d'Arcy James, John Jellison, Martin Moran, Henry Stram, Michael Mulheren, Stephanie Park, Michele Ragusa, Ted Sperling, Henry Stram The Largest Moving Object David Garrison, John Cunningham & Michael Cerveris4- I Must Get on That Ship 2:37 Matthew Bennett, Theresa McCarthy, Jennifer Piech, Erin Hill, Don Stephenson, Bill Buell, Judith Blazer, Victoria Clark, and the 2nd & 3rd Class Passengers5- The 1st Class Roster 2:34 Matthew Bennett, Victoria Clark, Company6- Godspeed Titanic 2:03 Company7- Barrett's Song 3:20 Brian d'Arcy James8- To Be a Captain 1:20 David Costabile9- Lady's Maid 4:29 Jennifer Piech, Theresa McCarthy, Erin Hill, Michael Mulheren, Henry Stram, Joseph Kolinski, Matthew Bennett, Larry Keith, William Youmans, Lisa Datz & 3rd Class Passengers10- What a Remarkable Age This Is 3:15 Allan Corduner, Staff & 1st Class Diners11- The Proposal/The Night Was Alive 4:38 Brian d'Arcy James, Martin Moran12- Hymn/Doing the Latest Rag 3:52 Ted Sperling, Adam Alexi-Malle, Andy Taylor & 1st Class Passengers13- I Have Danced 1:55 Victoria Clark & Bill Buell14- No Moon 3:48 David Elder, Alma Cuervo, Larry Keith, Clarke Thorell, Jennifer Piech John Cunningham, John Bolton, David Costabile, Judith Blazer, Don Stephenson, Becky Ann Baker, Matthew Bennett, William Youmans
15- Autumn/Finale 4:31 Ted Sperling, David Elder, Brian d'Arcy James, Martin Moran, with Becky Ann Baker, Matthew Bennett, Michael Cerveris & Company ACT TWO16- Dressed in Your Pyjamas in the Grand Salon 4:47 Allan Corduner, David Elder, Michele Ragusa, Stephanie Park, Mara Stephens, Michael Mulheren, Joseph Kolinski, Victoria Clark and Company 17- The Blame 4:44 Michael Cerveris, John Cunningham, David Garrison18- To the Lifeboats: 2:36 Getting in the Lifeboat Robin Irwin, Michael Mulheren I Must Get on That Ship (reprise) David Constabile, John Bolton, Larry Keith, Alma Cuervo, Allan Corduner, Willaim Youmans, Mara Stephens, Victoria Clark, Henry Stram, Don Stephenson & Passengers Lady's Maid (reprise) Clarke Thorell, Jennifer Piech The Proposal/The Night Was Alive (reprise)/Canons Brian d'Arcy James, Martin Moran, Michael Cerveris & Ensemble 19- We'll Meet Tomorrow 2:36 Brian d'Arcy James, Martin Moran, Don Stephenson & Company 20 - Still 2:28 Larry Keith and Alma Cuervo 21- To Be A Captain (reprise) :54 Allan Corduner 22- Mr. Andrew's Vision 3:22 Michael Cerveris with Mara Stephens 23 - Epilogue: In Every Age (reprise)/Finale 4:37 Martin Moran & Company
SYNOPSISTitanic begins (Prologue) as Thomas Andrews, the architect of the great ship, pores over the blueprints of his design (In Every Age). The curtain then rises to reveal the Ocean Dock in Southampton, England, where people are gathering to wonder at and to board the ship on sailing day: first the stoker (How Did They Build Titanic?), then additional crewmen (There She Is), officers and stevedores (Loading Inventory), the owner, the architect and the captain (The Largest Moving Object), the Third and Second Class passengers (I Must Get On That Ship), and finally the first Class passengers (The 1st Class Roster). Now fully boarded, the ship pulls out as the company sings a prayerful farewell (Godspeed Titanic).One by one, the dreams and aspirations of key characters are presented: Barrett, the stoker who wanted to get away from the coal mines (Barrett's Song) Murdoch, the ship's officer contemplating the responsibility of command (To Be a Captain); Kate McGowan an the Third Class passengers who yearn for a better life in America (Lady's Maid); Chief Steward Etches and the millionaires he serves who exult in the wonders of their world (What a Remarkable Age This Is!)Barrett finds his way to the Telegraph room where he dictates a proposal of marriage to his sweetheart back home (The Proposal) in a telegram transmitted by Harold Bride, a young telegraph operator smitten with the possibility of the new radio technology ( The Night Was Alive).The next day, April 14, after Sunday morning church service, the First Class attends the shipboard band's spirited out-of-doors dance-concert (Hymn/Doing the Latest Rag, an exclusive event crashed by Second Class passenger Alice Beane, a hardware store owner's wife who wants more out of life (I Have Danced). That evening, as Fleet the lookout scans the horizon (No Moon) and bandsman Hartley reveals the First Class Smoking Room with a new song (Autumn), the ship sails inexorably towards her collision, which ends Act One.Act Two opens as the suddenly awakened First and Second Class Passengers, are assembled in the Grand Salon (Dressed in Your Pyjamas in the Grand Salon) for life-belt instruction by Chief Steward Etches, before being sent up to the Boat Deck to board the lifeboats. In the Telegraph Room, Captain Smith, Mr. Andrews and Mr. Ismay, the owner, argue over who is responsible for the disaster (The Blame) while Mr Bride tirelessly sends out the SOS. Up on the Boat Deck, the male passengers are separated from their families (To the Lifeboats) and all express hopes of being reunited (We'll Meet Tomorrow) as the final boat is lowered. Isidor Straus (the owners of Macy's) and his wife Ida remain behind together, as she refuses to leave his side after 40 years of marriage. (Still) and Mr. Etches utters a prayer (To Be a Captain reprise. In the abandoned Smoking Room, Thomas Andrews desparately redesigns his ship to correct its fatal flaws until the futility of his actions lead him to predict, in horrifying detail, the end of Titanic just as she begins her now-inevitable descent. (Mr. Andrews' Vision).In an Epilogue, the survivors picked up by the Carpathia numbly retell what had once been Mr. Andrews'dream (In Every Age reprise). The living are joined by their lost loved-ones in a tableau recapturing the optimistic spirit of the Ocean Dock on sailing day (Finale). A Word From Peter Stone The sinking of the Titanic in the early hours of April 15, 1912, remains the quintessential disaster of this century. A total of 1,517 souls men, women and children - lost their lives (only 711 survived). The fact that the finest, largest, strongest ship in the world- called in fact, the "unsinkable" ship - should have been lost during its maiden voyage is so incredible that, had it not actually happened, no author would have dared to contrive it. But the catastrophe had social ramifications that went far beyond that night's events. For the first time since the beginning of the industrial revolution early in the 19th Century, bigger faster and stronger did not prove automatically to be better. Suddenly the very essence of "progress" had to be questioned; might the advancement of technology not always be progress? Nor was this the only question arising from the disaster. The accomodations of the ship, divided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes, mirrored almost exactly the class structure (upper, middle and lower) of the English- speaking world. But when the wide discrepancy between the number of survivors from each of the women in 1st Class were saved while 155 women and children from the 2nd and 3rd Class (mostly 3rd) drowned there was a new, long overdue scrutiny of the prevailing social system and its values. It is not an exaggeration to state that the 19th Century, with its social structures, its extravagant codes of honor and sacrifice, and its unswerving belief that God favored the rich, ended that night. The musical play Titanic examines the causes, the conditions and the characters involved in this ever-fascinating drama. This is the actual story of that ship- of her officers, crew and passengers, to be sure- but she will not, as has happened so many times before, serve as merely the background against which fictional, melodramatic narratives are recounted. The central character of our Titanic is the Titanic herself. Composer-lyricist Maury Yeston and I had worked together before- we were both called in to rescue the musical Grand Hotel which was threatening to close in Boston during its out-of-town tryout. We fully enjoyed our collaboration and it apparently had a positive result: Grand Hotel ran over 1,000 performances on Broadway. During that happy time we discovered, by total coincidence, that both of us had been harboring magnificent dreams of turning the enduring myth of the Titanic into a musical drama. We gladly pooled our resources and set to work almost immediately. That was over four years ago. The saga was a difficult one to synthesize - there were so many characters, so many incidents, so many themes. But we moved forward with remarkable agreement and yes, even a mystic sort of symbiosis whereby one of us would hit upon a new idea that the other would intuit even before hearing it. A lot of our early work was done over lunch in a small Chinese restaurant on Second Avenue and 70th Street - to the chagrin of the waiters who had to endure us occupying their tables until late in the afternoon. We even began grading the importance of our characters by placing them in Column A and Column B. But from the beginning a definite pattern emerged- our main characters would be presented in groups of three. The first trio are common seamen- a stoker, a lookout, and a radioman; each having first-hand knowlege of the three natural forces that were instrumental in destroying the ship:speed, visibity and ice. And then three uncommon men- the owner, the builder and the captain; each revealing a flaw of character: greed, compromise and compliance. When these faults collide with the ineluctable forces of nature, the ship's fate is sealed. In classical tragedy, this collision is inevitable. That it occurred in reality is astounding. And legendary. And later, three emigrants in steerage: three Irish girls, all named Kate, who are bound for a new life in the new world, where very few from this class would ever set foot. Surrounding these core characters are the rest of the officers and crew (the latter divided into seamen and hotel staff), all of them attending to the passengers. In the 1st Class were almost every American multimillionaire- Astor, Guggenheim, Straus, Thayer, Widener and more - powerful men who, with their wives and families, were the regular and frequent passengers on the great transatlantic liners. Only Vanderbuilt and Morgan missed the sailing, but both had booked, then at the last minute, cancelled.. (They had booked space for this maiden voyage because they had a perfect right to be there.) Second Class was filled with merchants, professionals, tourists and the socially ambitious who wanted nothing more than participation in this glittering event. They had booked passage so they could rub up against the 1st class; perhaps so they could rub up against the 1st Class; perhaps some of that golden charisma would even rub off. In 3rd Class (commonly called steerage), there were the emigrants from the old world, eager to reach the new, Irish, Turkish, Italian, Scandinavian - they were fleeting poverty and hopelessness, in search of opportunity and the gold the streets of America were purported to be paved with. Eating more and better food then they were used to, they spent for the first time in their lives, four full days in idleness. They had been assigned to the ship by lottery and didn't really care which one it was, as long as it got them to America. With our characters set, and the action laid out, Act One would be completely celebratory- this was after all, the maiden voyage of the largest, grandest and safest ship in history. Act Two would be quite the opposite: a progression among both the passengers and crew from denial to doubt, to realization, to acceptance, and finally to horror and panic as the extent of the catastrophe became more and more evident. We were ready to move on to the next stage: production. We took our show to the Dodgers (named for the team they all followed in Brooklyn when the three partners were young) whose previous hits included The Who's Tommy and Guys and Dolls. They gave it, not only their unstinting devotion, but their lavish financial support as well. Their commitment was, and remains total. As our director we chose an Englishman, Richard Jones, an artist mostly unknown to Broadway but who was widely known in Europe where he had mainly directed opera-he had recently mounted a widely praised production of Wagner's complete Ring Cyle at London's Covent Garden. It was a wise choice. His instinct in selecting actors is phenomenal, and under his strong guidance, we engaged the finest group of actors-singers (or are they singer-actors?) it has ever been our pleasure to work with. And Richard molded them into a tight seamless company. He also brought in his own designer, Stewart Laing, a Scotsman whose overall concept -sets as well as costumes- was overpoweringly vivid, daring and exciting. He was determined to show the ship actually sinking on stage- and his success in creating this mechanical marvel is cheered at every performance. We enjoyed a workshop production (with only twelve actors playing all the parts) some months ago before we went into rehearsal. Then, in January 1997, we went into full rehearsal period (with forty actors), followed by our move to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre where we had four weeks of previews to alter, adjust and otherwise fine-tune our show. We opened there on April 23 and we're happy to report that our ship, unlike the tragic original, not only triumphantly arrived in New York right on schedule, but continues to sail happily on. And on. Act One covers the first four days of the maiden cruise; during that time the passengers in every class were carefree, enjoying an uncommonly smooth crossing, growing increasingly eager for their arrival in New York. On the bridge, the officers were experiencing a fruitless voyage; the new ship was behaving perfectly. True, there were warnings from several other ships in the vicinity of ice fields and large bergs straying father south than normal for that time of the year, but there seemed to be little if any concern. After all, what could happen to such a ship? Wasn't she constructed with sixteen watertight compartments which could be mechanically closed off in the unlikely case of a breach? True, the owner of the White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, was making a pest of himself, continually hectoring Captain E. J. Smith to increase speed. Ismay wanted a record for this maiden voyage, the publicity of which would help recapture some of the luster (and business) lost to the Cunard ships. And true, the captain, having already retired after four distinguished decades at sea and only returning under pressure to command this maiden voyage, had wearily bowed to his employer's pressure and raised the ship's speed to its maximum- 22 1/2 knots. And also true, the builder of the ship - Thomas Andrews, aboard for this premiere crossing, had designed the watertight bulkheads to rise only as high as "C" Deck, thereby providing the 1st Class passengers above with roomier accommodations. With these displays of arrogance casting prudence over-board, the stage was set. At 11:40 on Sunday April 14, the sea was calm, the night was moonless, the water and sea both near freezing. The lookout spotted the massive iceberg a little too late- the customary binoculars were inexplicably missing from the crow's nest- and the ship reacted a little too slowly. The berg scraped the side of the ship beneath the waterline slicing her open like a tin of sardines - in what we now know was a series of six, sliver-thin slits, breaching six of the watertight compartments. The ship was at that moment doomed. It would only be a matter of two-and-a-half hours. The passengers, especially those in 1st class who had, for the most part, not even felt the impact, refused, at first, to believe there was any danger. (Those in steerage knew there was trouble-the water was pouring into their dormitory cabins.) But as the ship began to list and more and more severly, it was no longer possible to deny the inevitable. There were only twenty lifeboats. To accommodate every soul aboard, there should have been fifty-four, but that many would have taken up much too much 1st Class deck space. Even so, the first couple of boats were lowered nearly empty-who in their right mind could leave the large warm, brightly lit ocean liner for a tiny open boat bobbing around in the cold, dark, dark, sea? When the last of the boats had departed, over fifteen hundred persons were still left aboard, including every last one of the American millionaires (and the wife of one, Isidor Straus, who refused to leave her husband's side.) And the band played on, to the very end. When it came, the stern of the great ship rose to a height of two hundred feet- twenty stories- above the ocean's surface. She stood that way for a few brief minutes, on end almost perpendicular, with over a thousand screaming people desparately hopelessly clinging to it. And then she plunged straight down. In a matter of seconds, the largest moving object on earth had totally disappeared. - Peter Stone Newsday, Sunday August 3rd, 1997 Scoring Broadways Latest Discs A Crop of new original cast recordings has arrived in record shops led by the epic "Titanic". By Fred Cohn Titanic, The Life and Steel Pier slugged it out for Best Musical at the Tony Awards; now they're competing on record store shelves. Titanic's five Tony's including Best Musical-seemed to vindicate a show whose propects had once seemed dim, indeed. The mavens had expected Titanic to sink as quickly as its namesake; instead buoyed by its Tony victory, the musical is sailing toward a long run. The show's original cast CD, on the RCA Victor label, is a winner too. While Maury Yeston's score doesn't seem likely to yield any obvious hits, it's still a piece of proficient musical theatre writing. Titanic presents a crowded dramatic canvas, with characters on the ship's crew and all three classes of passage, yet Yeston's songs manage to keep the narrative threads distinct and intelligible. Of course you can't write a show called Titanic without laying on the tragic irony pretty thick: One's heart sinks at the beginning as the sailors inevitably sing "I'll be back before a fortnight has passed!" But as the score progresses, Yeston manages to convey the pathos of these doomed lives with admirable delicacy, reaching its lyrical apex in "The Night Was Alive" a lullaby sung by the ship's radio man (Martin Moran) in the eerie moments before the great ship hits the iceberg. This is one of the best sounding albums ever, thanks to Jonathan Tunick's lushk, Ravel-like orchestrations. Over the years, Tunick has won acclaim for his work on Stephen Sondheim's musicals, and it's only fitting that his masterful contribution to Titanic should be rewarded with the first ever Best Orchestration Tony.Show Music Magazine Fall 1997 Volume 13, No 3 If The Life represents teh most commercial of the new musicals, Titanic must be judged the the most ambitious in its musicalization of the story of the ill-fated supership and it's passengers. Maury Yeston's score- his first for Broadway since 1982's Nine - contains beautiful writing in choral numbers such as the lengthy " the Launching" Sequence, "No Moon" and "In Every Age". "Lady's Maid"; "What A Remarkable Age This is" (curiously moved from position in the show for the recording), and "Dressed in Your Pajamas in the Grand Salon" convey the class attitudes of the ship's passengers. "Barrett's Song", "To Be a Captain", "The Proposal/The Night was Alive," and "The Blame" provide insight into a few of the many characters who populate the story but never quite engage the emotions.(??) In that respect, In that respect, Yeston's score may be most involving as part of the total Titanic theatre experience; the recording is somewhat distancing. Perhaps because it seems to have been engineered at a low sound level, a few tracks require a boost in volume in order to hear all the dialogue and lyrics. The casting is almost extravagent in its abundance of talent. Michael Cerveris, David Garrison, John Cunningham, Judith Blazer, Victoria Clark, Don Stephenson, Brian d'Arcy James, Martin Moran, Ted Sperling, Alma Cuervo, and Larry Keith are only a few of the many. Some make what seem more than cameo appearances, but their contribution to the impact of this recording is invaluable.
Music Magazine January 1998Reviews Musicals by Michael BillingtonSocial criticism also edges its way into recordings of three Broadway musicals that all opened within a few days of each other last April. Improbably, the sole survivor is Maury Yeston's Titanic. Long before the show opened hacks were honing their wits on what seemed like a doomed enterprise: after all, the musical cost more to mount than the liner did to build. But, happily, it has proved rather more buoyant and, in this recording you can see why. It's an ensemble piece skillfully interweaving the ship's officers, crew and passengers. It also shows how an optimistic belief in progress was combined with strict adherence to the class structure: there's a choice moment in the Grand Salon when Allan Corduner's steward cries, as panic spreads through the ship, "Chirst! Look who's here! It's the second class!" Titanic bucks all the rules. It's about a disaster, its end is foreseeable, it shows the collapse of a great dream. But Yeston has come up with a strong quasi-operatic score, making good use of choral numbers, that explains the show's unsinkable quality.