Interview: Frankie Grande Talks Playing Victor Garber, His Favorite Celine Dion Song & More about TITANIQUE

Grande has promised that the audience will "pee with excitement and laughter when they see this show."

By: Jun. 14, 2022
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Titanique, the hilarious musical parody of the blockbuster film Titanic, featuring the songs of Céline Dion, begins previews tonight Off-Broadway! After engagements in New York and LA, and a livestreamed concert last year, this limited run of Titanique is ready to set sail, officially opening at Asylum NYC on June 23, 2022, and playing through September 25, 2022!

When Céline Dion takes over a Titanic Museum tour, the audience is in for one wild ride! Through outrageous and hilarious storytelling and Celine Dion's iconic song catalog, featuring hits like "My Heart Will Go On," "To Love You More," "All By Myself" and many more, Céline shares what really happened to Jack and Rose aboard the Titanic.

Directed by Tye Blue, and co-written by Tye Blue, Marla Mindelle and Constantine Rousouli, Titanique stars Marla Mindelle (Sister Act, Netflix's "Special"), as Céline Dion, Constantine Rousouli (Cruel Intentions, "Charmed") as Jack, Frankie Grande (Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages) as Victor Garber, Kathy Deitch (Footloose, Wicked) as Molly Brown, Ryan Duncan (Getting' the Band Back Together, Shrek) as Ruth, Alex Ellis (Catch Me If You Can, Thoroughly Modern Millie) as Rose, John Riddle (The Phantom of the Opera, Frozen) as Cal, and Jaye Alexander as The Iceberg. Courtney Bassett, Donnie Hammond and Dimitri Moise round out the ensemble.

BroadwayWorld spoke with actor, producer, and reality TV personality, Frankie Grande, about his journey with Titanique, getting to develop his character of Victor Garber for an Off-Broadway run, his favorite song in the show, and more!

Titanique had a live-streamed concert - Titanique: The Maiden Voyage Concert in 2021. How does it feel now to be returning to Titanique for its Off-Broadway run?

It's unbelievable to be doing the show with an audience. We all joke about that livestream being the most difficult thing we've ever done in our lives because as comedians, doing that show with no laughter at all... it was very challenging to do it with no audience. This is a show where the audience is a character in the show, just because they laugh so uncontrollably, and you never know who is going to be there, and Marla is so free with improvisation depending on who she sees in the house. To take all that away from us and make us stream it with no audience was very difficult. So, we're all so excited to get this back on its feet in front of a group of people! Especially at Asylum, which is a great house for comedy because you are close! You are part of that show very, very intimately, there is no proscenium, we are all in the aisles and things like that. It's going to be a lot of fun and we're all dying to get back in front of an audience!

Can you tell me about who you play and what audiences can expect to see?

I play Victor Garber, and Luigi from Mario Kart, I play two characters. Very lovingly they are an amalgamation of the captain, the owner, and the architect, all shoved into one character. So, basically I get blamed for everything, it's all my fault! [laughs] And you know, lovingly, we call him Victor Garber because we love him so, so very much, of course, being Broadway gays, we are obsessed with Victor Garber. So, what you can expect is, you're going to see a very different side of me, because I'm playing an older character who is the leader, and he is in charge, the captain, he's the commander of the ship. I don't think anyone has really seen me play those colors yet, but as we go into Act II, you will start to see much more familiar Frankie territory as we get towards me singing 'I Drove All Night' and crashing the ship. It's a very dynamic character actually, which I'm very excited to show the world!

Prior to its 2021 concert, Titanique had engagements in LA and New York, and now you're back at it again. What has it been like working with this unbelievably funny and talented cast?

The cast is some of my closest friends. Constantine Rousouli and I have been in many shows together and were on Broadway at the same time, back when we both made our debuts, and we became very good friends back then. And then, working on the show, I got very close with many of the other incredible people, like Marla, and Alex Ellis, and Kathy Deitch, and then we have unbelievably talented new blood who have been introduced into the mix for this round. We laugh all the time, we have a great time, Tye Blue is the best director for us because he is very intelligent and very loving, but also allows us to have a good time, which is great, because that is kind of the nature of the piece. You can't direct it like it's Shakespeare because then it's just not going to work. So, it's really been an amazing process.

And it's nice having a process! You're going to see a very different Victor Garber than you saw in the livestream, because we never have rehearsed this show! We have only had three or four days to learn the material then put it up with a book in front of our faces. So I've actually gotten to have character development and think about backstory, things that we never got to do before. Because of what the rehearsal process was, we'd never gotten the opportunity to. And therefore, I think you're going to see a very different show, which is nice.

What are you most excited for audiences to see?

TitaniqueI'm most excited for them to hear Celine's music in this amazing way. Nicholas [Connell], our amazing musical director has taken these already perfect songs and made them even more perfect. He elevated songs that didn't need to be elevated. I'm excited for people to hear the way that Nick has orchestrated this show and added eight-part harmonies. It's just so rich. And I'm just excited for audiences to literally pee themselves with laughter. As Celine said when she was talking about my sister [Ariana Grande] on Jimmy Fallon, "She made me pee!" Well, the audience will also pee with excitement and laughter when they see this show.

What is your favorite song in the show?

God, that's hard! I think 'Tell Him', the Barbra Streisand/Celine Dion duet. The way that they do it in this show, it's a trio, and it is one of the most powerful moments.

On the personal front you recently got married, and I wanted to say congratulations! How is married life treating you?

Aw, married life is amazing. We have gone straight from the wedding, to the bachelor party, to the honeymoon, to rehearsal. So, it has been a whirlwind since saying 'I Do'. But it's been nice to have a partner, nice to have a teammate to get me through. I have been burning the candle at both ends, rehearsing all day, seeing shows at night, barely sleeping, rinse, wash, and repeat. So, I'm exhausted and it's really nice to have a husband to come home to. And a puppy to come home to!