The sinking of the TITANIC in the early hours of April 15, 1912, remains the quintessential disaster of the twentieth century. A total of 1,517 souls—men, women and children—lost their lives (only 711 survived). The fact that the finest, largest, strongest ship in the world-called, in fact, the “unsinkable” ship-should have been lost during its maiden voyage is so incredible that, had it not actually happened, no author would have dared to contrive it.
But the catastrophe had social ramifications that went far beyond that night’s events. For the first time since the beginning of the industrial revolution early in the 19th Century, bigger, faster and stronger did not prove automatically to be better. Suddenly the very essence of “progress” had to be questioned; might the advancement of technology not always be progress?
Nor was this the only question arising from the disaster. The accommodations of the ship, divided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd Classes, mirrored almost exactly the class structure (upper, middle and lower) of the English-speaking world. But when the wide discrepancy between the number of survivors from each of the ship’s classes was revealed—all but two of the women in 1st Class were saved while 155 women and children from 2nd and 3rd (mostly 3rd) drowned—there was a new, long-overdue scrutiny of the prevailing social system and its values.
It is not an exaggeration to state that the 19th Century, with its social stricture, its extravagant codes of honor and sacrifice, and its unswerving belief that God favored the rich, ended that night.
The musical play TITANIC examines the causes, the conditions and the characters involved in this ever-fascinating drama. This is the factual story of that ship—of her officers, crew and passengers, to be sure—but she will not, as has happened so many times before, serve as merely the background against which fictional, melodramatic narratives are recounted. The central character of our TITANIC is the TITANIC herself.
— Peter Stone
TITANIC begins —Prologue as Thomas Andrews, the architect of the great ship, pores over the blueprints of his design —In Every Age. The curtain then rises to reveal the Ocean Dock in Southampton, England, where people are gathering to wonder at and to board the ship on sailing day: first a stoker —How Did They Build Titanic?, then additional crewmen —There She Is, officers and stevedores —Loading Inventory, the owner, the architect and the captain —The Largest Moving Object, the Third and Second Class passengers —I Must Get On That Ship, and finally the First Class passengers —The 1st Class Roster. Now fully boarded, the ship pulls out as the company sings a prayerful farewell —Godspeed Titanic.
One by one, the dreams and aspirations of key characters are presented: Barrett, the stoker who wanted to get away from the coal mines —Barrett’s Song; Murdoch, the ship’s officer contemplating the responsibility of command —To Be a Captain; Kate McGowan and the Third Class passengers who yearn for a better life in America —Lady’s Maid; Chief Steward Etches and the millionaires he serves who exult in the wonders of their world —What a Remarkable Age This Is!
Barrett finds his way to the Telegraph Room where he dictates a proposal of marriage to his sweetheart back home —The Proposal in a telegram transmitted by Harold Bride, a young telegraph operator smitten with the possibilities of the new radio technology —The Night Was Alive.
The next day, April 14, after Sunday morning church service, the First Class attends the shipboard band’s spirited out-of-doors dance-concert —Hymn/Doing the Latest Rag, an exclusive event crashed by Second Class passenger Alice Beane, a hardware store owner’s wife who wants more out of life —I Have Danced. That evening, as Fleet the lookout scans the horizon —No Moon and bandsman Hartley regales the First Class Smoking Room with a new song —Autumn, the ship sails inexorably towards her collision, which ends Act One.
Act Two opens as the suddenly awakened First and Second Class passengers are assembled in the Grand Salon —Dressed In Your Pajamas In The Grand Salon for life-belt instruction by Chief Steward Etches, before being sent up to the Boat Deck to board the lifeboats. In the Telegraph Room, Captain Smith, Mr. Andrews and Mr. Ismay, the owner, argue over who is responsible for the disaster —The Blame while Mr. Bride tirelessly sends out the S.O.S. Up on the Boat Deck, the male passengers are separated from their families —To the Lifeboats, and all express hopes of being reunited —We’ll Meet Tomorrow as the final boat is lowered. Isidor Straus (the owner of Macy’s) and his wife Ida remain behind together, as she refuses to leave his side after 40 years of marriage —Still and Mr. Etches utters a prayer —To Be a Captain (reprise). In the abandoned Smoking Room, Thomas Andrews desperately redesigns his ship to correct its fatal flaws until the futility of his actions leads him to predict, in horrifying detail, the end of TITANIC just as she begins her now-inevitable descent —Mr. Andrews’ Vision.
In an Epilogue, the survivors picked up by the CARPATHIA numbly retell what had once been Mr. Andrews’ dream —In Every Age (reprise). The living are joined by their lost loved-ones in a tableau recapturing the optimistic spirit of the Ocean Dock on sailing day —Finale.
The Musical (50%)
Story and Book by Music and Lyrics by
Peter Stone (50%) Maury Yeston (50%)
Produced on Broadway by Dodger Theatricals, Richard S. Pechter
and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (25%)
No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominent than the billing to Peter Stone and Maury Yeston except for the title of the play and the star(s) above the title. In the programs the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.
The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:
is presented by arrangement with
MusicScope & Stage Musicals Ltd. of New York
3 Violins I & II (2 vol. each)
1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute, Alto Flute (or Clarinet) and Clarinet
1 Reed II: Oboe and English Horn (or Clarinet)
1 Reed III: Clarinet
1 Reed IV: Flute and Clarinet
1 Reed V: Bassoon and E-flat Contrabass Clarinet (or Bassoon)
1 Horn I & II
1 Trumpets I & II (both double B-flat Piccolo Trumpet -8 measures only)
1 Trombone I (tenor)
1 Trombone II (bass)
1 Keyboard Synthesizer I – principally Harp.
Additional registrations for: Glockenspiel, Piano, Steel Guitar, Harpsichord, Vibraphone, Tuba and optional Bass Trombone. (2 vol.)
2 Keyboard Synthesizer II – principally Strings.
Additional registrations for: Marcato Strings, Fast Strings, Pizz. Strings, Trem. Strings, Double Basses, Celeste, Celeste + Vibes, Harmonium & Harp. (2 vol.)
2 Percussion I & II: (trap drum set & mallet instruments)
(I – mallet instruments)
Tubaphone (or Bells)
Timpani (2 pedal drums)
Gran Cassa (2 drums)
Anvil (2 sizes)
Piatti (Hand Cymbals)
Small Triangle (share w/Perc. 2)
Even Smaller Triangle
(II- trap drum set)
Wood Blocks (hi and low)
Cow Bells (hi and low)
Xylophone (share w/Perc. 2)
Triangles (2 sizes)
1 Cued Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with orchestration (3 vol.)
Solo Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material. (1 vol.)
(3 female; 10 male)
Thomas Andrews — the ship’s designer and builder, late 30’s
J. Bruce Ismay — the ship’s owner, late 40’s, fastidiously dressed, dark hair and moustache
E.J. Smith — captain of the Titanic, grey-bearded
Murdoch — first officer; doubles as 2nd-Class Passenger, a Scotsman, 39
Harold Bride — radioman
Frederick Barrett — stoker, 24
Frederick Fleet — lookout; doubles as 1st-Class Passenger & 2nd-Class Passenger
Henry Etches — senior 1st-Class Steward; doubles as 3rd-Class Steward; 50
Joseph Bell — chief engineer, doubles as bandmaster Wallace Hartley & 3rd-Class Passenger
Isidor Straus — 1st-Class Passenger; doubles as 3rd-Class Passenger; late 60’s
Ida Straus — Mrs. Isidor Straus; doubles as 3rd-Class Passenger
Alice Beane — 2nd-Class passenger
Kate McGowan — a young Irish girl
Officers & Crew
Lightoller — second officer; doubles as 2nd-Class Passenger, 38
Pitman — third officer; doubles as The Major & Fourth Man; 32
Boxhall — fourth officer; doubles as Taylor, Rogers & 3rd-Class Passenger; 28
Hitchens — quartermaster; doubles as Bricoux & 3rd-Class Passenger, a Cornishman, 23
Bellboy — doubles as 3rd-Class Passenger
(all double as 3rd-Class Passengers)
John Jacob Astor, 47
Madeleine Astor, 19 — the very young Mrs. Astor
Benjamin Guggenheim — an American millionaire
Mme. Aubert — Guggenheim’s French mistress
John B. Thayer
Marion Thayer — John’s wife
Jack Thayer — their nine-year-old son
George Widener — doubles as Carlson
Eleanor Widener — George’s wife
Charlotte Cardoza, a handsome woman in her 40’s
Edith Corse Evans — doubles as 2nd-Class Passenger
J.H. Rogers — doubles as Boxhall, a bespectacled American in his 40’s
The Major — doubles as Pitman
Alice Beane – middle-aged, American with middle-west accent
Edgar Beane — husband of Alice
Charles Clark — young, British and middle-class
Caroline Neville — young, British and aristocratic
(all double as 1st-Class Passengers)
Jim Farrell, a handsome Irishman
The Three Kates – young Irish girls
Frank Carlson — an American on shore; doubles as Widener
Andrew Latimer — steward in First Class
The DaMicos — professional dancers
Wallace Hartley – bandmaster (doubles as Bell)
Taylor — bandsman; doubles as Boxhall
Bricoux — bandsman; doubles as Hitchens
Stewards — for all three Classes
Additional 1st-Class Passengers [Fleet, Farrell, McGowan, Mullins and Murphey]
Additional 2nd-Class Passengers [Murdoch, Lightoller, Fleet and Edith
First Man — from 3rd Class; doubles as Thayer
Second Man — from 3rd Class; doubles as Widener
Third Man — from 3rd Class; doubles as Guggenheim
Fourth Man — from 3rd Class; doubles as Pitman
German Man — from 3rd Class; doubles as Isidor
Italian Couple — from 3rd Class; double as Mr. & Mrs. Astor
Additional 3rd-Class Passengers [Boxhall, Hitchens, Bell, Bellboy, Ida, Aubert, Marion, Jack, Eleanor, Cardoza and Edith]
The original Broadway production had a cast of 37 performers, including chorus. Doubling was employed in almost all parts.
TITANIC opened on Broadway, March 29, 1997 and played for 804 performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
5 Tony Awards for Musical, Book, Original Musical Score, Orchestrations and Scenic Designer
2 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Set Design (tie) and Lighting Design (tie)
The Drama Desk Award for Orchestration