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Vista's 'Titanic the Musical' Blends History And Music

A scene from "Titanic the Musical" playing at Moonlight Amphitheatre from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3, 2016.
Courtesy of Moonlight Amphitheatre
A scene from "Titanic the Musical" playing at Moonlight Amphitheatre from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3, 2016.
Vista's 'Titanic the Musical' Blends History And Music
"Titanic the Musical" Blends History And Music GUEST:Steve Glaudini, producing artistic director, Moonlight Amphitheatre

Sinking ship some frostbite are not usually the subjects of major musicals and that is what you will see an Moonlight amphitheaters later show Titanic the musical. The real-life story of the 1912 disaster along with the stories of some of the high profile people who died at sea. Joining me to talk about this large-scale show is the director. Welcome. The show was a huge hit on Broadway. At 15 Tony's back in the 1990s. That is when the movie Titanic came out. Is this play based on the movie? Not at all. It came out the year before the movie did. What they tried to do was focus on the real passengers in the first, second and third class and the crew of the Titanic. It is not based on a soap opera. Any romance in it is factually down. How big your show is this? It is huge. 37 actors and 26 musicians in the orchestra pit. It is a very epic telling and we wanted to give our audience the same size so you would have seen a New York. Why did you want to bring Titanic the musical tomorrow night? Selfishly, I'm obsessed with the actual story and the sinking in the tragedy of it all. It was a hugely successful show but when it was license for regional shows to produce, 9/11 happened and everyone that it was in bad taste to do a musical about a disaster. So it was swept under the rug's. I thought after 15 years it is time to give this -- it is some of the most haunting and beautiful music you will ever heal -- you will ever hear. Titanic is known for its complicated set design. Can you tell us a little bit about the ship? The ship was a $10 million show. Unfortunately you walked out humming the set and didn't care about anyone who was on it. That was in 1997. In 2016, we're using projections. We will have a bridge, we have the hydraulic bridge but the grand salon and the gorgeous first-class dining restaurants will all be projections. We're using today's technology with a little bit of what you saw in the 90s. So the way this play is structured, the way I understand it, the way it differs from the movie, it concentrates on the last few hours of the Titanic story is. No. It is from Harland and Wolff. It starts there and then the loading and the boarding of the ship. It is basically four days on the ship. We timestamp every moment. We use front and rear projection so you will know what day it is, what time it is and where we are. People who know exactly when it struck the iceberg and exactly when it went down. We are going to inform the audience every step of the way. So you just mention an act to dishes starts to sing. In the finale of act one, we hit the iceberg. When the ship that start to sing, what happens to the set? It's on a hydraulic. We tilted as the act continues and we get to the ship sinking that will be done through projections. How does the tilting affect the actors? Well, we had our first rehearsal yesterday. Actors are so fearless. Is like a big jungle gym. Is pretty dramatic. You do see body sliding down going to their deaths. We didn't want to sugarcoat what happened. We need to honor the people who gave their lives. We lost Benjamin Guggenheim, some of the most intelligent and richest men in America who decided to go down with the ship. The character I portrayed notoriously gets on a life boat. He did have a huge for -- he had a huge feud with William Randolph Hearst. The we named him the coward of the Titanic because that was the power of the prospect then. I hear some of the cast members actually look like people there portraying. They do. It truly is a singer show. Everyone was so good that the director could look up historical photos and see who resembled them the most. Also they were cast out way. Considering the outcome, considering the scene of people siding of the boat and into the beyond, how do you keep display from becoming depressing? I compared to Les Miserables. Everyone dies in that one as well. There is hope and there is an empowerment and the ghost to come back like to students. Everyone who died in that student revolution in Les Miserables you should feel uplifted because we shouldn't forget these people. I think their stories are important and even though it has been 104 years, it is still history and our past and I think we are celebrating them and I do not think it is depressing. I think there is a melancholy especially with all the survivors on the car PC up and they just have a bunch of one-liners. One of my lines was we are only 90 mind -- only 95 miles from dry land. There is a bunch of should act, could've, with a. It is a tragic event. Moonlight is known for its family-friendly productions. I would say there are adult themes and Titanic. We are a family-friendly theater. We have gorgeous tour for you can lay down a blanket but we just finished Peter Pan which is our second show. I do give a family show every year but I like to call our theater family-friendly. We are blessed that the city Vista found this gorgeous renovation and so it is a state-of-the-art facility. We were able to fly Peter Pan over the audience outside. It was awesome. I do think the families, people ask my opinion and what I feel may not be what other parents feel, but it is our history. Is not like Array which can be a little seedier. You have the opulence of first-class and the costume in the big hats on the ladies the aristocratic Englishman on the ship. And then you have the second and third classes as well. To me it is like 1776, that musical. It is a walking talking history lesson with you to full music. Moonlight amphitheaters director, thank you so much. Titanic the musical opens at the Moonlight amphitheater Wednesday, August 17 and runs through September 3.

Sinking ships and frostbite aren’t usually the subjects of major musicals, but that’s what you’ll see in Moonlight Amphitheater’s latest show, "Titanic the Musical."

The show (which is not as depressing as the title implies), tells the real-life story of the 1912 disaster, along with the stories of some of the high-profile people who died at sea. It runs at the Vista theater from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3.

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Some of the historic characters portrayed include prominent businessmen John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim; Isidor and Ida Straus, co-owners of Macy's; and RMS Titanic captain Edward J. Smith among others.

The show won five Tony Awards in 1997, including one for Best Musical, and is known for its elaborate set that showcases the different passenger class levels and eventually begins to sink.

Steve Glaudini, Moonlight Amphitheatre's producing artistic director, joined Midday Edition Monday to discuss why he wanted to put on San Diego's first regional staging of "Titanic the Musical."

It's a large production that includes a 38-person cast of mostly local actors and a 26-piece live orchestra featuring four musicians from North County high schools.

Glaudini also discussed his own role as J. Bruce Ismay, the real-life character who authorized the reduction of lifeboats on the HMS Titanic from 48 to 20 and who also pushed for the ship's speed to increase.

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Find out more about the show or purchase tickets here.