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Titanic: The Musical set to cast off Saturday

Tae Andrews | Friday, January 25, 2008

Under the tagline “a familiar story told a whole new way,” director Kyle Chamberlin and the rest of the “Titanic: the Musical” crew cast off with two performances this Saturday night in the Ballroom of the LaFortune Student Center.

As the first performance put on by Fortnight Productions, “Titanic” differs vastly from nearly every other campus production in one regard – the cast and crew will have staged the entire show, from auditions to performances, in just two weeks. Talk about a whole new way of telling a familiar story.

Given how busy many Notre Dame students are, Fortnight Productions provides another theater venue for would-be performers who might not otherwise have the time to commit to a full-scale production. The cast read and sang through the show for the first time on Jan. 14 and then went through scheduled rehearsals for 12 of the next 13 days. With the accelerated production schedule, the extremely tight timetable forced the production staff to be flexible and adapt to various challenges as they arose.

Despite the many challenges of staging Titanic on two weeks’ notice, Chamberlin said he has enjoyed the experience of directing the ship. “It has been particularly rewarding to help a group of talented, intelligent, experienced performers do something that none of us have ever done before,” he said.

Chamberlin went on to say that he listened to the soundtrack for “Titanic: The Musical” well before he ever saw the show onstage. When he finally did see the show, the performance didn’t live up to his expectations. “With so many people on board that fateful voyage, there was a host of compelling stories,” he said. “I felt there was an opportunity to do so much more with the story.”

One of the stories the show does not include is the story arc played out Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the movie version of “Titanic.” “Neither Jack or Rose are anywhere to be found in our production, and if you want to hear ‘My Heart Will Go On” you best bring your mp3 player,” Chamberlin said. “Instead of trying to compete with the grandeur of the movie, we left the focus on our talent and the music.”

Titanic: The MusicalLaFortune BallroomSaturday at 7 and 10:30 p.m.Admission: Free