Seriously, Go See Titanic: Ensemble the Musical THIS WEEKEND! (Review)
I got the opportunity to check out the final dress rehearsal for Think Pink's Titanic: Ensemble the Musical!
I'm actually really excited because I get to review something before it's too late to see it! Last night, I was cordially invited (I asked politely) to watch the final dress rehearsal of Think Pink's latest very ambitious project Titanic: Ensemble the Musical. And when I say it's ambitious, I mean it.
Before I start the review/hype-train, it should be said that this musical has nothing to do with the very popular movie that we all cried during back in middle school and simultaneously got us super into disaster history for like 6 months.
Get the eff out my face, Jack and Rose
The story follows many different characters all boarding everyone's favorite "unsinkable ship" for different reasons. Three Irish girls named Kate board for a better life in America, Alice boards with her husband Edgar in order to rub elbows with the wealthy (despite being second-class), and an unmarried couple seek to come to America in order to finally be wed without worrying about the bride's father's approval.
You also have the stories of those who were in charge of getting the Titanic where it needed to go. The series of events that leads to the sinking of the ship is apparent from the beginning with the director of the White Star Line instructing the ship to go faster in order to make bigger news. The overall story is very enthralling and I felt myself caring about all of the characters, even though you knew that, yeah, this boat is going to hit an iceberg and go down.
SPOILER: Boat sinks
When I looked at the Think Pink Production's season line-up, I'll be honest: a musical about the Titanic didn't really capture my interest. The movie was such a huge part of pop culture in the 90's that, even 20 years later, it's still completely normal feel burnt out on Titanic-mania. However, I trusted Kensington Eck (Think Pink's director extraordinaire) to put on a show that would be entertaining. I'm very glad that I decided to give this show a chance.
At intermission, I leaned over to Kensington and told her, very bluntly, that even at intermission, this was already the best thing they've done to date; And I've had very high-praise for all of the shows that they've done so far. The scope of this show, for a small theatre company, is breathtaking. For a group that's largest cast so far was around 12, to put on an ensemble show of 20+ that is not only fantastic, but you don't get confused by who is playing who (the original Broadway cast had around 50 cast members), is truly a feat.
That's me pretending to be as talented as any of these wonderful people
There were some stand out performances in this production, including Dallas Street as the Captain and Brandon Eck as Thomas Andrews, the aforementioned designer of the ship. There is a song that Brandon does towards the end of the show where you really feel his character is taking on all of the responsibility for what happened. And as an audience member, you feel what he is feeling.
The comic relief of the show, Jim Farrel, played by the always charming, Jeff Dumond, gave hope to often hopeless situations.. His love story with the Irish Kate McGowan (played by Alex Wilkison), was very believable and the two had great chemistry. Alex brought a tough, yet vulnerable, portrayal to her character who was uncertain about her future. Of all the characters, they were the two you were really rooting for. I also found myself laughing at Logan Vicker's character of Etches, the First-Class Steward, more than once. Logan and Jeff really excelled at making the audience laugh
John Crosser, who plays Ismay (the White Star director), made me hate his character. This is not an easy feat, as I happen to know and like John in real life. After the show, I approached him and simply told "Thanks for sinking the Titanic..." He portrayed the glory-hungry Ismay without becoming cartoonishly over-the-top.
I'd be doing everyone a disservice if I didn't mention how great (once again) Jared Brosmer was as the stoker, Barrett. I think at this point, Jared only takes roles where he can make me cry. This is the third show I've seen him in where his musical and acting ability makes me weep uncontrollably. Stop it! Or don't, you're like super-talented and shouldn't listen to anything I say because you're doing fine on your own.
Also, he's an A+ hugger
The music for this show was fantastic. Again, it's the Titanic so I was wondering how they could make compelling songs about something we already knew the outcome to. While I was waiting for songs like "This Boat Is Gonna Sink" (featuring Pitbull), the show was much more subtle with the music. This isn't the story of a boat sinking, but the story of the people who were on that boat that sank. The music captured that. The live-band was led by Summer Bennett and everyone really brought it to this show. This is some of the best music in any of the shows Think Pink has produced. The sound effects were also done very well. They did a lot with a little when it comes to sinking a ship (without actually sinking a ship).
Overall, I'm very thankful that I got the opportunity to see this show. It's been an absolute pleasure watching Kensington and co. grow as signers, actors, directors, light techs (this show has some awesome light work), musicians, and so much more. They've accomplished so much in the past year and I'm so optimistic about what they will do next.
You have 3 chances to see this great show this weekend at Studio 3-2-1 in Evansville. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, and Sunday at 6:00 pm. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling 812-456-8719. You can all the details about the show here!
Also, you can listen to my favorite interview ever with Kensington about the show!