Oakton Outlook

A Preview of Titanic: the Musical

Jessica Marshall, Editor-in-Chief

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Lindsey Jacobson (12), member of Oakton Theatre and Chorus for the past four years, has been studying “dramaturgy” for this year’s spring musical, Titanic, which will be shown on May 3rd-5th and 11th-12th at 7:00 p.m. In other words, aside from being one of the main characters, she has been studying and researching the dramatic composition and the portrayal of the main elements of drama on the stage. This concept is fairly new to her, but it is important for her to learn about the time period that the musical was created in and all the events from the sinking of the Titanic to help the cast have an accurate representation of the experience. She explained that Titanic: the Musical is not similar to the movie in relation to the characters, but is the same succession of events throughout the plot. There are many intertwining stories between characters, mostly consisting of the relationships of couples and what happened to them the night that the Titanic sunk. Some starring roles include: Andrews (played by Parker Watters) who is the designer of the ship, Beret (played by Max Branciforte) who is a stoker and shovels coal into the fires to power the ship, and third class passengers Caroline (played by Jacobson) and Charles Clarke (played by Johnny Gierdes). 

To give a short synopsis without too many spoilers, the musical begins with everyone loading onto the boat while the exposition is explaining what is happening and giving background information about the boat, the trip, and the characters. Fast forward to the end of first act and all the characters are seen enjoying the luxuries of the ship. The acts finishes with the Titanic hitting the iceburg, leaving everyone in a chaotic panic, while the second act of the musical is the actual sinking of the ship. From written accounts of the night by the passengers who lived, we know that very few third class members survived, some second class survived (mostly women and children), and almost all of the first class survived. The end of the musical shows everyone sitting in lifeboats after the ship has completely sunk, thinking about their lost loved ones and what they are going to do next. The last scene is all the characters on stage singing a beautiful song to close the musical.

According to Jacobson, the production so far has been running very smoothly and the large cast has been hard at work learning music and marking all of their stage cues. In most rehearsals, they begin in the Choir room learning and practicing the various songs, then they move to the Drama room or stage and start putting the pieces together with transitions. This particular show will run anywhere from about two and a half hours to three hours, but they are currently working to keep it on the shorter side. Furthermore, Jacobson explained that the most difficult part of the process is definitely the singing aspect because many people in the cast have never been in Chorus or sung in a musical before, so it takes longer to teach them the music. However, unlike Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, Titanic also has a larger amount of dialogue throughout the production. The majority is definitely singing, but there are more speaking parts than in previous years.

There will be many special aspects of the musical aside from the fantastic acting, singing, and dancing that the students bring every year. The characters will be using accents throughout the dialogue in the musical to add an extra effect, including Scottish, Irish, and British accents. Additionally, students had to play around with different sets to show the various parts of the ship and all the experiences of the passengers (first class parlor with someone playing a grand piano, a boiler room with people shoveling coal into the fire, etc.), so get ready to see some eye-catching set pieces. They will even have passengers going in lifeboats up the aisles of the audience, while the rest of the second/third classes stay on the stage/sinking ship. 

There has been so much hard work, passion, and dedication put into this production. Students rehearse every day until about 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. and sometimes during Cougar Time, and the Technical Theatre students even go to Oakton on the weekends to design and create the set. “This definitely sounds like a hectic schedule and long hours, but everyone loves everything they are doing  so it is worth all the time and energy,” said Jacobson. It is a bittersweet experience for Jacobson as this is her fourth and final musical with Oakton Theatre. “I am excited to go on to college to further my musical theatre career, but also nostalgic because Chorus and Drama have been my life for the past four years, with over seven Oakton productions,” she added. 

The spring musical usually only lasts one weekend, but this year the group decided to have two weekends for Titanic because of the fact that they sold out last year and it is worth it because of all the work put into the production and more people will be able to see the show. The general public can purchase tickets online at oaktondrama.org for $15. Make sure to choose your seats and buy your tickets before they sell out!

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About the Writer
Jessica Marshall, Editor-in-Chief

Hi, my name is Jessica Marshall, and I am a senior at Oakton High School. I am so excited to be Editor-in-Chief for the Oakton Outlook this year and lead...

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A Preview of Titanic: the Musical