“Rarely Performed Gem”: ‘Titanic’ Sails into Shea’s 710 with Starring Buffalo’s Staged Concert Experience

Titanic, the rarely performed musical theater gem, known for its captivating story and memorable music, will be brought to life by Starring Buffalo at Shea’s 710 theatre, May 31 and June 1.  Featuring original songs by Maury Yeston (Nine, Grand Hotel), Titanic tells the story of triumph and tragedy of the passengers on the ill-fated “ship of dreams” that has captivated imaginations and hearts for over 100 years. The musical was the winner of five 1997 Tony Awards including best musical, best book, and best score.

Presented as a staged concert in the vein of NYC’s City Center Encores! series, the production will showcase the talents of nearly 100 artists, including Broadway veterans, local Buffalo actors, the Starring Buffalo Community Chorus, University at Buffalo dance majors, and a dedicated creative team. Titanic will be the largest Starring Buffalo production to date.

Starring Buffalo’s production of EVITA.
Photo by Thomas Zicari

Joining the best of Buffalo’s theatrical community will be Broadway’s Diane Phelan (Into the Woods, School of Rock), Rodney Ingram (Aladdin, The Phantom of The Opera),  Jonathan Young (Pretty Woman National Tour) and Jay Dref (Sarah Brightman’s ‘A Christmas Symphony’).

“We opened the Into the Woods tour (the ten city Special Engagement tour) right after Broadway in Buffalo,” shared Phelan, adding, “And let me tell you, nobody was expecting how incredibly loving and effervescent [the Buffalo] audience was… Buffalo was one of my favorite memories of performing.” 

Buffalo’s own Louis Colaiacovo, Keith Ersing, David P. Eve, Alex Anthony Garcia, Karen Harty, Jake Hayes, Jetaun Louie, Charles McGregor, Kayla McSorley, Mary Kate O’Connell, John Patrick Patti, Rachel Ross, and Christopher Wagner, and the Starring Buffalo Chorus, under the direction of Karen Saxon, will be playing the rest of the passengers aboard the ship.  

Rehearsal Photo, TITANIC Community Chorus

Phelan is especially excited to share the work with Buffalo audiences, for some very personal reasons.  “I’m playing the role of Alice Bean and I’ll be honest here, I was never familiar with this version before being cast in this production, and there is a very specific reason for that. I’m an actress of color. I am half Filipino, half Irish American, and when I was growing up, no one was hiring me to play Alice Bean or Kate McGowan or any of those roles in Titanic. And so it’s just one of those things it’s like, ‘Oh, Titanic. That’s nice. That’s for other people. It’s not really for me.’ And the jokes on me, because this is the most gorgeous score I’ve ever heard in my life. And now that I’m getting to know it, I’m listening to it, and reading through it, and I’m just beside myself,” shared Phelan, adding

It’s an immigrant story. It’s about people, and their dreams, and coming to America and I think that’s something that many people in America can identify with no matter what they identify with racially. I’m really excited to take on this role of Alice Bean, which is not traditionally cast with someone with my energy and look. It’s really exciting seeing the inclusive casting in our production and productions that are starting to happen all over the states.” 

Music director, and faculty at The Eastman School of Music, Dr. Alison d’Amato, is looking forward to sharing the incredible score with Buffalo audiences, saying, “The great thing about this musical is that it really tries to tell all [the passengers] stories. There’s very specific music associated with each character…This elegant sort of waltz music for the upper class passengers, and then this sort of ‘Irish jig’ that comes in with the lower class passengers. The hierarchies are clear. But of course, what happens is that they are all equalized.” 

WNY Soundstage
Broadway Meets Buffalo: “Unsinkable” Songs in Starring Buffalo’s “Titanic”. Conversation with Music Director Dr. Alison d’Amato, and actors Diane Phelan and Jonathan Young



Download file | Play in new window | Duration: 00:50:11 | Recorded on May 20, 2024

Buffalo Native, and alum of the Pretty Woman national tour, Jonathan Young, echoed Dr. d’Amato’s excitement about the music, adding, “there’s this really long sequence at the beginning, that’s basically the entire introduction that’s just the launching of the Titanic, and it culminates in this huge choral number, which is everyone saying ‘Farewell, Farewell, Godspeed, Titanic.’ And it’s in, I think, 8 vocal parts.” Adding,

It is soaring … It is so beautiful…I can’t wait to hear what the orchestra sounds like. I can’t wait to hear what the community choir sounds like, and everybody around me, I think it’s going to be amazing.

Starring Buffalo’s production of Titanic will be presented for three performances only! May 31st (7:30PM), June 1st (2:00PM & 7:30PM) at Shea’s 710 Theatre. Tickets are available here

The post “Rarely Performed Gem”: ‘Titanic’ Sails into Shea’s 710 with Starring Buffalo’s Staged Concert Experience appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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