TITANIC The Musical

 

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 the Musical – author of story and book)

 

TITANIC the Musical (NOT the Movie!)

Although it debuted on Broadway in the same year (1997) as the release of the movie that EVERYONE saw (Titanic, starring Leo and Kate), this is not the story of fictional characters, Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater. Rather, TITANIC the Musical tells the tale largely through the thoughts and actions of real people who were aboard the maiden voyage. Like other well-known stories (Romeo and Juliet comes to mind), it’s no spoiler to state that the ship goes down in the end. That we all know what happens, more or less, adds to the tension and at each retelling we find ourselves hoping that some of the fateful decisions that lead to the foregone conclusion will somehow, this time, turn out differently. But who survives, and who perishes?

Oh – and there’s no Celine Dione music in this one, either.

TITANIC the Musical won 5 Tony awards in 1997 – Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Scenic Design, Best Orchestrations. Among other awards is a Grammy for Best Musical Album. Maury Yeston, the composer is known for the musicals Grand Hotel, Nine and Phantom (not to be confused with the Andrew Lloyd Webber version produced at Campolindo in 2019.)

Sadly, the Titanic movie somewhat overshadowed the musical’s success on Broadway, which included 804 performances followed by a National Tour. At least two Broadway revivals have been announced (the most recent in 2018) but, partly because of the scope and challenges of the show, neither has yet come to the Great White Way – meanwhile, this will be the second Campolindo production of this epic.

 

CAMPOLINDO CASTING

Casting is by audition for ALL ROLES including Ensemble. We may create two casts of Principals and all members of the cast will perform in all shows – with some playing multiple characters. All who successfully complete an audition will be cast in the show. We plan 8 performances at this writing. There will be an opportunity for several young children to be cast as passengers – the casting method for these roles will be determined in October.

Auditions are open to all members of the Campolindo Choral Music Program. Auditions will be held by appointment in mid-October. (Times TBA). There will be a Callback Workshop after the first round of auditions to allow those invited to callbacks an opportunity to learn music from the score. Callbacks will be held the following week (specific times TBA). Casting will be posted very soon thereafter.

All cast members are required to audition. (Note: separate announcement for young childrens’ roles later in the fall).

Auditioning does not obligate you to be in the cast if unanticipated conflicts occur, but you can’t be in the cast if you don’t audition. Prepare 16 – 32 bars of a Broadway Musical solo (please don’t sing us the whole song… wonderful as it may be.) For anyone seriously interested in a “named role” in the show, we suggest listening to the soundtrack before picking an audition song and selecting something that is of a similar genre to one of the songs your desired character(s) sing in the show. It is strongly suggested that you begin your search for an audition song NOW.

Email the Director at dcpinkham54@gmail.com for suggestions. Here is a list of possible audition pieces. For those new to auditioning and unfamiliar with the Musical Theatre catalog, Mr. Roberts will teach one song for boys and one song for girls in a group setting early in the school year. It is acceptable for freshman auditioners to use one of these “group taught” songs for the audition, although you may pick one of your own if you prefer. The main thing is to pick something you are comfortable singing (whether perfect for the role or not.)

 

PARTICIPATION DONATION

The Campolindo Musical Theatre program is a voluntary, after school program that is supported in part by MEF, by ticket sales and by an additional participation donation from each cast member that pays for costumes, sets, props, a professional staff and commemorative T-shirt. The program receives no Acalanes School District funding. After casting, we will ask that you pay the participation fee ($150 at this writing) on-line before winter break. Your help in defraying some of those costs early in the process is appreciated. Details will be announced. Scholarships are available upon confidential request to Mr. Roberts for anyone for whom these amounts constitute a financial hardship.

 

REHEARSALS AND PERFORMANCES

The regular rehearsal schedule begins in earnest January 6th. Rehearsals are typically scheduled from 6 pm to 9 pm Monday through Friday, with several Saturday mid-day rehearsals and some Sunday choreography rehearsals as well. Cast members will only be called for scenes in which they appear and so will not necessarily rehearse every night and not always for the entire time period. We do not rehearse on long weekends (Presidents’ Day) and we take a hiatus when other Choral performances are scheduled. Rehearsals will not overlap with finals week in 2019-20. Please note that the performance schedule has been moved up one week earlier in the month.

The following are “no conflict rehearsals & performances” and you are expected to be available for them. Please arrange to be available on these dates. There will be 2 technical rehearsals, 2 dress rehearsals and 8 public performances of Titanic (all split by cast). The venue for most rehearsals and all performances is CPAC. Performance/rehearsal schedule is subject to change based on audition results.

 Photo Shoot: Saturday 2/20 9 am
 Technical Rehearsals: Saturday 2/29 10-6 & Sunday 3/1 1-6:30
 Dress Rehearsals (evening) Monday 3/2 & Tuesday 3/3 (one for each cast)
 2 pm Matinee Performances: Saturday 3/7, Sunday 3/8, Saturday 3/14, Sunday 3/15
 7:30 pm Evening Performances: Friday 3/6, Saturday 3/7, Friday 3/13, Saturday 3/14

 

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

YOU DO NOT NEED TO AUDITION FOR A SPECIFIC ROLE. IF YOU HAVE PREFERENCES, STATE THEM AT THE TIME OF YOUR AUDITION, BUT “NO PREFERENCE” IS FINE.

As (nearly) everyone will be portraying a real person, it will be possible to undertake research into your character and will be asking each member of the cast to research and write a character biography, which will be provided for the audience (details after casting is complete). It is our intention to give everyone, from Principals through the Ensemble, at least one real person to portray from the ship’s log.

There are more than 25 separate solos in the show for singers.

There are 56 named roles in the script (some may be doubled by the same actor) and every member of the Ensemble will play at least one “real” person from the ship, including passengers and crew.

When a numeric age is listed, it denotes the age of the real person while he or she was on the Titanic.

A nationality or region is noted for every character who speaks. We will help actors develop the proper accents, which lends the richness and detail that this show requires. The differences between how a Cornishman, a Liverpudlian and an Irishman speak are important. Should you wish to develop an accent for callback auditions, there are plenty of on-line resources available, although auditioning without an accent is perfectly acceptable. Know only that we will be doing some significant work on this aspect of your character.

FOR A COMPLETE LISTING OF CHARACTERS CLICK  Titanic Announcement July 3, 2019

 

SELECTING AN AUDITION PIECE

Rule Number One: Don’t wait until the week or day before your audition to pick a song.

Guidelines for any Campo Musical Audition:

  • If you are new to the program or have difficulty picking a song, Mr. Roberts will provide one or two “standard” audition songs for boys and girls that can be learned in a group setting. Take advantage of this if you “just don’t know where to start.” We would expect most Juniors  and Seniors to have the wherewithal to pick their own song, however.
  • 16 – 32 bars of a song are generally enough. Pick the portion of the song that best shows off your voice, range and talent. If it’s a few bars longer, that’s fine, but please don’t repeat verses.
  • All audition songs should be accompanied so therefore must have sheet music available in your key… cuts should be clearly marked and the music should be double-sided in a loose-leaf binder suitable for sight-reading — please no plastic report binders, corner-stapled sheets or song books (unless they are spiral bound).
  • You should MEMORIZE your audition song.
  • Songs should be from a Broadway Musical (not just random picks from your iTunes library)
  • You should not select a song from the show that you are auditioning for.
  • An audition is like an interview – dress decently (not ties and jackets, no tuxes, no gowns, it’s not a “formal”. On the other hand, no cut-offs, halter tops, sweatshirts, tee-shirts.)
  • Here is a list of possible audition pieces.
  1. Suggested steps for selecting an appropriate song for The Phantom of the Opera:
    See “Rule Number One” above.
  2. Review the synopsis (above) of the show and/or watch YouTube videos regional productions of
    the show to see what character(s) you are interested in playing, based on the character and the
    music they have to be able to cover. (The vocal range for each of the named characters  is provided above).
  3. Review the music in The Phantom of the Opera (the album from the Broadway Cast is available on iTunes).
  4. Consider the songs that your character(s) would be singing in the show and try to pick something in a similar style (if your character doesn’t sing any ballads, for example, it’s probably not a good idea to sing a ballad for your audition. If your character doesn’t do any 1940’s style tap numbers, that’s probably not a style you should pick for your audition song.) (If you are interested in being in the Ensemble and don’t have a particular character in mind, your range of possibilities is greater.)
  5. Pick a number of songs that appeal to you and find out if sheet music is available. Some sheet
    music is available for immediate download on line and in some cases you can get automatic
    immediate transpositions into your key as well. Most individual songs are not expensive.
    Sources for sheet music:
    a. http://www.musicnotes.com/broadway/
    b. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/genres/Broadway
    c. http://www.playbillstore.com/brpiseso.html
    d. http://www.musicforte.com/sheet_music/broadway/
    e. Local music stores – songbooks, compilations, collections of Broadway songs
    f. Friends, vocal coaches, etc.
  6. Review your selection(s) with a music teacher or accompanist (to make sure that the music can
    be reasonably sight-read at the time of the audition… some songs are torture for our accompanist and you should avoid these because you will want and need a   good accompaniment).
  7. Pick a song and make the necessary cuts (consult with Mr. Roberts or your own knowledgeable
    resource for this.)
  8. PRACTICE and prepare. Don’t wait.
  9. See rule number 1.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Do you have a handbook with more information?
A: Yes, click here for a printable version of the Spring Musical Handbook.

Q: Do I need to audition if I’m only interested in being in the ensemble?
A: Yes. If you are planning on being in the ensemble, you still need to audition, although you may have a bit more latitude in the style of song selection. The main thing is to pick something that you can sing competently.

Q: Can I sing a capella?
A: No. The show is all “accompanied singing” and so it makes sense that we would be looking for you to sing with an instrument behind you.

Q: What if I mess up? Can I have a second chance?
A: Yes. This is not American Idol – we want you to have every opportunity to do as well as you are able and we recognize that people get nervous in these situations. Just ask to start again or pick up where you left off. On the other hand… don’t come in poorly prepared.

Q: What are you looking for in an audition?
A: Are you well prepared? Can you sing in tune and in rhythm? Can you tell a story (i.e. bring some character to your performance) while you sing? Can you be understood? Are you confident? Do you listen to directions? Do you have a positive, enthusiastic attitude? Do you act like you will be easy to work with in rehearsal? Are you taking the process seriously?

Q: What are things to look out for or “not to do” in auditions?
A: An audition provides an over-all impression about you as a person and as a performer. Negatives: slouching; downcast expression; sloppiness or carelessness in attire, speech or attitude; not listening; failing to follow directions; lack of preparedness; lack of focus; “I don’t really care” attitude. Positives: good posture, positive outlook, confident approach, appealing attire, good volume and diction when speaking and singing, giving your best effort, showing potential, knowing the words and music, taking charge of the stage, respect for others in the room.

Q: What should I wear?
A: Wear something that is flattering, conservative and comfortable. This is not a “jeans” event, nor is it a “Prom Night” event. You are trying to appeal to the adult audition panel. There is no need to be the flashiest person in the room, but you don’t want to be remembered as the one person in your group who wore jeans and a t-shirt, either. Please no hats, flip-flops, uggs, slippers or other “shuffle-shoes”.  Tuxedos, suits, short skirts, tight dresses, spike heels are not suggested.

Q: I don’t consider myself a good singer… so I’ll probably get cut. I’m better off not to bother, right?
A: Wrong! If you prepare for your audition by picking a song, learning the words and music and then trying your best to perform it for us, the chances of getting cut are slim, no matter how accomplished a singer you are. The people who get cut are those who don’t bother to prepare well… and of course those who just give up and never get up on stage in the first place.

Q: I can’t dance at all… is there a place for me in this show?
A: Yes. The dance requirements for Phantom of the Opera are reasonable and we will accommodate non-dancers in the show. We structure the dance sequences to feature those who have good dance skills, but others are typically in those scenes as well.

Q: Where can I get more information?
A: Ask Dave Pinkham or check the Spring Musical Handbook.