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A 'Titanic' stage production

Musical Theatre Guild brings big-budget play to the Alex Theatre.

September 21, 2012|By Lynne Heffley
  • A scene from "Aspects Of Love," a previous production by the Musical Theatre Guild. Kim Huber will also appear in Mondays MTG production of "Titanic" at the Alex Theatre.
A scene from "Aspects Of Love," a previous… (Courtesy of the…)

"Titanic" made a splash on Broadway in 1997, but full-scale productions of the musical are few and far between, despite that year’s Tony Award bonanza for the $10-million show: best musical, score, orchestrations, book and set design.

With 37 cast members — many playing multiple roles — a staggering number of costumes and wigs, nearly three dozen songs and the re-creation of the doomed ocean liner itself, an all-out “Titanic” is a budget buster that few theaters can afford. (According to the Los Angeles Times, the $750,000 tab for Civic Light Opera of South Bay’s 2001 production included $200,000 for the set alone.)

Enter the Musical Theatre Guild. Founded in 1995, winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critic Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in the Theatre, MTG is an actor-driven professional theater company dedicated to American musicals, especially those that are seldom seen or are downright obscure.

Presented in a “semi-staged” or concert-staged reading format, MTG productions are performed by first-rate talent from the national, regional and Broadway stage. These productions often afford Los Angeles-area audiences their only opportunity to see works that for various reasons are infrequently produced.

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“Titanic” — no relation to James Cameron’s blockbuster film — is next up for MTG, which will present the show Monday at the Alex Theatre in Glendale and on Sept. 30 at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

With score and lyrics by Maury Yeston and book by Peter Stone, “Titanic” takes place over three fateful days in April 1912. Based on historical accounts and characters, the musical about the ocean liner’s disastrous maiden voyage “manages to be grave and entertaining, somber and joyful,” said the New Yorker in reviewing the long-running Broadway production.

“It’s a gorgeous score, and this is an incredible opportunity to hear it,” said Calvin Remsberg, director of the MTG production. “For those who don’t know the musical, it’s a chance to see a great story and fall in love with some really wonderful music.” Apart from ballads, ragtime and other songs in the show that reflect the period, he said, “the music has a sweeping grandeur that carries one along.”

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