Review: TITANIC THE MUSICAL at Carrollwood Cultural Center

The production runs through the 27th

By: Mar. 25, 2022
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Review: TITANIC THE MUSICAL at Carrollwood Cultural Center After a twenty-four-month-long intermission due to the pandemic and multiple schedule changes, Titanic the Musical took her maiden voyage at Carrollwood Cultural Center on March 18 through 27.

With music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone, it is based on the story of the RMS Titanic which sank on its debut at sea on April 15, 1912.

Though the play was performed on stage to a live audience, the Center also made it possible to enjoy the musical live-streamed from the comfort of our homes. Images of the ship and the sounds of clanging bells, water, and seagulls prepared us for the coming story. Every actor in the show played a character based on a real person who sailed on the ship, with several playing multiple characters.

Review: TITANIC THE MUSICAL at Carrollwood Cultural Center With expert direction by Paul Berg at its helm and musical direction by Mary Jo Hahn and Michelle Kadonsky-Grant, Titanic the Musical featured an immense cast of Tony Peter Agati, Mackenzie Bainer, Devan Bittinger, Carl Canestrano, Katie Castonguay, Cynthia Fryer Cohen, Joseph Conrad, Chris Cordero, Mary A. David, Jessica Duncan, Leanne Ferguson, Joel Ferrer, Gabe Flores, Mackley Fogarty, Christopher Kadonsky-Grant, Zach "Hippie" Griswold, Aaron Hernandez, Caitlein Jayne Jammo, Katie Kocher, Amanda LeFloch, Terry LaRosa, James Madden, Randy Magruder, Jenifer Mirin, Jill Finnerty Ricardo, Reagan Ricardo, Rhett Ricardo, Rio Ricardo, Craig Ruska, Erin Ruska, Trevor Rockwell Salmon, Bob Sheehan, Alianna Waggoner, and Curtis Williams.

The story opens with the creation of a 46 ton of steel and eleven-story floating palace.

The ensemble performance "Godspeed Titanic" was outstanding. I don't know who hit that extraordinary soprano note in this song but her voice could break glass.

Chris Cordero as Frederick Barrett had powerful vocals in "Barrett's Song."

The "Lady's Maid" performance literally gave goosebumps, so many beautiful voices blending to perfection with Kate (Erin Ruska) ending on the perfect note. I adored Erin's character, an indomitable spirit who knew exactly what she wanted.

"The Proposal / the Night Was Alive" was another favorite by the talented Chris Cordero.

Alice had to be my favorite character as the second-class wife hoping to rub elbows with the first-class guests. "I want more to life than Indianapolis, Indiana," she said. "I want more than we've got, Edgar. Why don't you?" Leanne Ferguson's voice was beautiful and she was excellent in this role as the woman who wants more despite her husband Edgar's (played by Gabe Flores) reticence. She is a woman who made us laugh but still had a huge heart.

Within each individual's story, there were so many prophetic lines. One of the most gut-punching was offhanded responses.

Isidor Straus (Bob Sheehan) in response to "It's a brand new world, Mr. Straus:" "Thank God I won't be here to see it."

J. Bruce Ismay (Craig Ruska): "God himself couldn't sink this ship."

Little did they know how prophetic the comments were.

"Dressed in Your Pajamas in the Grand Salon" is another beautiful ensemble piece.

The treatment of the third-class passengers is heartbreaking, as is the song, "We'll Meet Tomorrow."

"...More than anything he wanted a legend, by God, he got one," said Captain E.J. Smith (Randy Magruder) of J. Bruce Ismay.

A standing ovation for the choreography, lighting design, period costumes, and of course, the set design. The stirring production told the stories of the dreams and aspirations of all those aboard who had no idea it would be their last journey. For nearly three hours, this stellar cast paid homage to all those who lost their lives on what had been dubbed an unsinkable ship. Titanic the Musical is only available for a few more days. I highly recommend you climb aboard for a beautiful, heart-wrenching, fateful trip. Titanic The Musical is a powerful show that should not be missed.

Bravo, Paul, Mary Jo, Michelle, cast and crew!


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