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Theatre / Titanic

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The Musical of the RMS Titanic's launching and eventual tragic sinking.

Yes, you read that right.

Titanic: The Musical, (or officially just Titanic) was a Broadway musical that opened in 1997 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on the 23rd of April, starring John Cunningham as Captain E. J. Smith, Michael Cerveris as Thomas Andrews, and David Garrison as J. Bruce Ismay. The musical ended won 5 Tonys including Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical, and ran for two years. A UK production opened in 2018.

The plot of the musical follows the crew and passengers of the RMS Titanic as it makes its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in April 1912. It focus on no one in particular, instead choosing to give almost every class of person on the ship a song and or a moment and therefore has no one single protagonist. (Other than the Titanic herself, if you will)


The musical is also unique in that the Broadway stage could tilt to simulate the sinking of the ship, and that most of the characters are actually people who were on the Titanic with only a few names changed here and there and a few people who died lived and vice versa.

The relation to James Cameron's Titanic in the same year is probably just coincidental.


  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: A real life example.
  • Artistic Licence – History:
    • For being a show that got most things right about the Titanic, it does get a few things wrong: One of the lyrics in "Mr Andrews’ Vision" says "the water poured in a 300 foot gash". It didn't, it poured in a number of holes along a 300 foot length and this was 1997, they knew by them. It probably just rhymed better.
    • Both Edgar Beane and Stoker Frederick Barrett die in the musical, but in real life, they lived, despite both being part of groups (Second-Class men and Engineering Crew respectively) that took among the highest casualty rates.
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    • Henry Etches is portrayed as the Chief Steward and Andrew Latimer as his subordinate. In real life it was the other way around.
  • Composite Character: The real Kate McGowan was a middle-aged spinster who died in the sinking, unlike the younger Kate in the show. She appears to have been conflated, whether intentionally or accidentally, with Kate Gilnagh, who was the right age, was really friends with the people the fictional McGowan associates with, and survived the sinking.
  • Cool Boat: Takes place on one. It was the largest and most luxurious ship ever made at that time after all.
  • Dark Reprise: "To Be A Captain" is a short song sung in the first by First Officer Murdoch about the importance of the position of Captain and how he feels he isn't qualified to take it. At the end, the same song is reprised by Chief Steward Etches as a eulogy for Captain Smith.
  • Ensemble Cast: Rather than focus on one particular member on the Ship; the Show is focus on multiple members of the Crew and Passengers. Practically, every one has, at least, one solo during the Show?
  • Final Love Duet: "Still", a duet between Isidor and Ida Straus. More final than most because they die not soon after.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's a musical about the Titanic, one of the most famous ship wrecks ever.
  • "I Want" Song: "Lady's Maid", a song about what the 3rd class passengers want to do when they get to America, and "I Must Get on That Ship", a song about, well, wanting to get on that ship.
  • Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: The Launching: I Must Get On That Ship, where the 3rd and 2nd class passengers sing about why they are, well... getting on that ship.
  • Minor Character, Major Song: Fleet, one of the ship's lookouts (at the time of hitting the iceberg) gets "No Moon".
  • The Musical: Of one of the most famous maritime disasters of all time.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "Mr Andrews' Vision", where Thomas Andrews suffers a nervous breakdown over the design flaw that caused the sinking of the ship, redesigning the blueprints until he breaks off, imagining the fate of those left on the ship until he eventually dies.
  • "Setting Off" Song: The Lanching, a name for a collection of 6 songs about the launching of the Titanic that are in order: "How Did They Build Titanic?", "There She Is", "Loading Inventory", "I Must Get On That Ship", "The 1st Class Roster" and finally "Godspeed Titanic"
  • The Song Before the Storm: "Autumn/Finale" Autumn is a slow, oldtimey song that eventually gets mixed with bits of the previous song "No Moon" about how dark the night is and the fact that you cannot see anything but stars... then the iceberg hits.
  • Quarreling Song: "The Blame" Where the Captain (E.J.Smith), one of the designer (Thomas Andrews) and the owner (J. Bruce Ismay) of the Titanic argue about who was to blame for the sinking of the ship.


Example of: