Titanic begins as Thomas Andrews, the architect of the great ship, pores over the blueprints of his design. 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 a stoker, then additional crewmen, officers and stevedores, the owner, the architect and the captain, the Third and Second Class, and finally the First Class passengers. Now fully boarded, the ship pulls out as the company sings a prayerful farewell.
One by one, the dreams and aspirations of key characters are presented: Barrett, the stoker who wanted to get away from the coal mines; Murdoch, the ship’s officer contemplating the responsibility of command; Kate McGowan and the Third Class passengers who yearn for a better life in America; Chief Steward Etches and the millionaires he serves who exult in the wonders of their world.
Barrett finds his way to the Telegraph Room where he dictates a proposal of marriage to his sweetheart back home in a telegram transmitted by Harold Bride, a young telegraph operator smitten with the possibilities of the new radio technology.
The next day, April 14, after Sunday morning church service, the First Class attends the shipboard band’s spirited out-of-doors dance-concert, an exclusive event crashed by Second Class passenger Alice Beane, a hardware store owner’s wife who wants more out of life. That evening, as Fleet the lookout scans the horizon and bandsman Hartley regales the First Class Smoking Room with a new song, 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 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 while Mr. Bride tirelessly sends out the S.O.S. Up on the Boat Deck, the male passengers are separated from their families, and all express hopes of being reunited as the final boat is lowered. Isidor Straus (the owner of Macy’s) and his wife Ida remain behind together, as she refuses to leave his side after 40 years of marriage and Mr. Etches utters a prayer. In the abandoned Smoking Room, Thomas Andrews desperately redesigns his ship to correct its fatal flaws until the futility of his actions leads him to predict, in horrifying detail, the end of TITANIC just as she begins her now-inevitable descent.
In an Epilogue, the survivors picked up by the CARPATHIA numbly retell what had once been Mr. Andrews’ dream. The living are joined by their lost loved-ones in a tableau recapturing the optimistic spirit of the Ocean Dock on sailing day.
Stage director Jacob Allen and music director Todd Florin lead this production. This production will be followed this season by The Gondoliers. Allen, originally from Oxford, Maine, holds degrees from Lawrence University and the Eastman School of Music. Todd Florin, originally from Oceanside, NY holds degrees from The University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music.
The cast is full of new and returning CLOC vocal company members. Talents to look forward to include Jake Bell as Jim Farrell (from Collierville, TN - University of Memphis ’16), Matthew Brennan as Bruce Ismay (Chicago, IL - Vanderbilt University ’14), Blake Gronlund as Harold Bride (Detroit, MI - Western Michigan University), Evan Woods Gunter as Capt. Edward J. Smith (Rainbow City, AL - Samford University ’17), Patrick Lynch as William Murdoch (Kansas City, MO - Northwestern University ’16), Jim Miller as Henry Etches (Fort Wayne, IN - Wright State University ’16), Willson Oppedahl as Wallace Hartley (Libertyville, IL - Lawrence University ’14), Timothy Powers as Herbert Pitman (Summerfield, NC – Ithaca College ’16), Christopher Sapp as Thomas Andrews (Resaca, GA - University of Georgia ’16), Steven Telsey as Frederick Barrett (New Hyde Park, NY - Elon University ’18), and Anna Tobin as Kate McGowan (St. Petersburg, FL - Elon University ’18).
Titanic will run Tuesday, August 11th through Saturday, August 15th at 8 p.m., with a Thursday Matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $36 and are available by calling the CLOC Box Office at 508-548-0668 or by visiting the CLOC Box Office, 58 Highfield Drive, Falmouth (open Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., and 7:00 –9:00 p.m.). For more information, please visit www .CollegeLightOperaCompany .com.