By Jorge Guajardo '21
The NCS and STA Thespian Society has just closed an extremely successful second weekend for its winter musical Titanic. The musical, composed by Maury Yeston, details the tragedy that befell the White Star Line ocean liner Titanic on April 15, 1912. The first act details the hopes and dreams of the passengers, while the second act is laden with tragedy as the ship founders. Showing both the story lines of the first, second and third class passengers as well as the ship’s crew, it provides an emotional recounting of the sinking of the great vessel.
Titanic was a truly enormous musical with 58 cast members not including run crew, makeup and costumes crew, and lights and sound crew. Perhaps most obviously showcasing the size of the musical is the stage. Designed by senior Mac Johnson, it occupies 520 square feet of platform space, utilizes two levels, and has 3 staircases, one of which is movable in order to be used differently in each scene. This is necessary as the musical calls for different areas of the ship to be shown simultaneously, which can be conveyed easily with assistance from the lights crew.
In addition, the orchestra plays almost constantly and most lines in the musical are sung. There are many quick changes, many musical numbers, many scene changes, and thusly many areas to mess up. This musical was going to take a great amount of skill and finesse to execute. However, the cast and crew were up for the challenge.
While designers such as Mac Johnson were working on the musical since as early as September, work for the cast began in early December. After near a hundred hours of total rehearsal time, the cast stared down the daunting task of uniting with tech crew and orchestra for a grueling and difficult tech week. Because of an ill-timed snow day, the cast and crew were left with only 2 dress rehearsals to perfect the piece before opening weekend.
Come opening night, the cast marched across Decker Terrace dressed in an assortment of 20th century wear having just heard tearful senior speeches and awaited the first notes of the orchestra to enter Trapier Theater. After a beautiful overture, the musical began with a 15-minute-long opening detailing the boarding process of the ship’s crew as well as the three passenger classes. The boarding progress commenced and the maiden voyage was on its way. Opening night went fantastically, and there seemed to be no dry in the audience during the final number. Emotions were running high for cast members as well, as not only is the content of the musical very emotionally impactful, but this also marks the last musical and last production in Trapier for our seniors.
The atmosphere leading up to closing weekend was bittersweet, as many of us had developed a fondness for the production, some of us even turning into Titanic quasi-scholars. Many of the cast members “wikipedia”-ed theirs and other characters in order to get a more dimensional sense of the show. Emotions were heightened especially on Saturday, which was, as I mentioned, the last musical performance for our senior Thespians.
Thank you to all who made Titanic a success—Mr. Bishop, Mr. Sherlock, Ms. Liberman, Mr. Straub, and all of our fantastic cast and crew!