Arts

New production of Titanic the Musical sets a course for Belfast

Titanic The Musical is set to sail to Belfast next April. Composer Maury Yeston tells Joanne Sweeney why it's a story he had to tell

Titanic the Musical at the West End – the original Broadway production won five Tony Awards
Joanne Sweeney

A NEW production of Titanic The Musical will be staged at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, next April as it embarks on its first UK and Ireland tour.

The story of the ill-fated ship has captured the hearts and imaginations of people on either side of the Atlantic since it sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 14 1912, after it hit an iceberg. One the biggest peacetime disasters of the 20th century, 1,517 men, women and children lost their lives.

Five-time Tony award-winning show Titanic The Musical will open in Southampton – where the Belfast-built ocean liner began its first and last Atlantic crossing and where 500 households lost a family member in the disaster – then transfer to Belfast for four nights from April 24, during its 106th anniversary year. It enjoyed a successful 10-week run in London's West End last year.

The show’s award-winning composer Maury Yeston told The Irish News: “The idea that this show will tour the UK, birthplace of the ship, where the workers of Belfast, the cabin boys and maids and stewards from Liverpool, the officers and crew, the stokers and stevedores from the Midlands all created a miraculous floating city, means more to me than I can say.”

He can vividly recall the Belfast performance, also at the Grand Opera House, of his hit show on the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.

"I was twice in Belfast, for the first time we did the show in 2005, and then for the 100th anniversary in 2012," the New Yorker said.

"It gave me goosebumps as nothing has ever given me goosebumps before. The curtain went up at 11.40pm and everybody thought it was just going to be the overture but at that moment, one violinist stood up on the orchestra pit and started to play Nearer My God To Thee and we all just started crying."

Maury wrote the music and lyrics from the book by Peter Stone. The pair have collectively won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, an Olivier Award and three Tony Awards for their previous works. The original Broadway production of Titanic The Musical won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.

"From the moment I had the idea to do the show and being inspired by the story, I wanted to do a show that would do honour to the people who built it and the people on it," Yeston added.

:: Titanic The Musical runs at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, from April 24-28 2018. Tickets from goh.co.uk

 

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Arts