It’s no wonder that the Courthouse Center for the Arts recently announced extended performances of Titanic, this production is undeniably excellent in every respect.
Titanic, winner of the 1997 Tony Award for Best Musical, traces the great ship’s ill-fated maiden voyage from its euphoric launch to inconceivable tragedy. The story unfolds through the many voices of the vessel’s passengers as well as Titanic’s owner, builder, captain and crew.
Courthouse’s 14 actors tackle the daunting challenge of portraying 35 separate characters, and they do so with seemingly effortless grace. The performers transition so smoothly between roles that, with only a minor change of costume and the modulation of voice or accent, they completely become another person before the audience’s eyes. Not only does each actor stand out on stage, each of their characters develops as a distinct and recognizable individual.
Joseph Robinson, Chris Gleim and Charles Sweigart, along with Jared Robinson, Michal Salonia, Alex Campbell and Poppy Champlin head a superb cast which, in addition to top-notch acting, boasts a collection of magnificent singers. This talented group is entirely equal to the vocal demands of Titanic’s score and they express the full range of emotions – from joy and hope to sorrow and resignation – contained in Maury Yeston’s gorgeous music.
Courthouse Arts utilizes every available inch of the intimate theater, making even the far walls and surrounding railings effective, vital parts of the presentation space. Creative blocking and an inventive use of props and projections fuel the performance’s fluid movement and lend a real sense of dimension. Courthouse’s judicious use of lighting design, pulleys, simple framing and double-duty props proves that high-quality production value doesn’t begin and end with flashy technology, but instead grows from resourcefulness and vision.
Do not miss the opportunity to see this polished and professional staging of Titanic.
The Courthouse Center for the Arts presents Titanic through July 29, 2012. Tickets are $15-$25 and can be purchased by phone (401) 782-1018 or online at www.courthousearts.org. Performances run Thursday through Sunday at the historic Washington County Courthouse, 3481 Kingston Road, West Kingston, RI.
Photo credit: Cat Johnson, Artistic Edge