‘Unsinkable ship’ sets sail on Conestoga stage
By K.C. McConnell, News Editor
As the curtains rise and the audience gets its first view of the set of Conestoga’s production of “Titanic: The Musical,” a surge of applause rushes through the crowded auditorium. The dazzling and realistic set of the Titanic’s deck was probably the most impressive part of the musical, which tells the tale of the “unsinkable ship” and the large cast of characters that lost their life upon that tragic maiden voyage. With a swagger and a song, the cast sets sail through a painted background of blue and dark grey, foreshadowing the destruction that will follow later on in Act 2.
The story of “Titanic” is rather schizophrenic, with no one cast member taking the role of lead actor or actress and the action being split equally among a large cast and chorus across the entire set. The music, while short and sweet, is rather unmemorable, though this is no fault of the ensemble. The first part of the musical is light and airy, though tones of doom and gloom do appear in the discussions between Captain Smith and owner J. Bruce Ismay. In the second act, the ship begins to go under, and the tone of the musical shifts dramatically to illustrate the horror of the Titanic’s tragic accident. Much suspense is felt as the frantic passengers try to dash onto the lifeboats and away from the rising water.
Particularly memorable actors were senior Connor Umsted, who played a whopping total of four parts in the production, and junior Stephen Christner. Umsted charmed the crowd with his silly antics, while Christner’s soulful voice expressed the terrible agony and fear of those trapped on the sinking ship. Actresses senior Laura McCauley and junior Nell Hoban also stole the stage with their powerful vocals and impressive acting.
The most memorable duo of the night were seniors Chrissy Bradley and Geoffrey Hegg, who played doomed lovers Isidor and Ida Strauss. Their emotional duet of “Still” was an amazing tribute to the sunken lovers who went down with the ship.
Overall, the show had its moments of extreme joy and terrible tragedy. It was an all-around impressive performance that stayed afloat through the amazing acting and singing abilities of a memorable cast. The group’s vast abilities combined with the extraordinary set design ensure that “Titanic” will go down in ’Stoga Theatre history.
K.C. McConnell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.