Jan Brofka-Berends, Dave Cowburn, Greg Kasander, Kevin Robinson, Jason Ginther, Jeremy Wheeler, and Rachel Givler. (Photo credit: Larry Bamford)

White Star Line Earns Gold Star at Barley Sheaf: TITANIC: THE MUSICAL

I was honored to have the opportunity to review one of the most magnificent productions of the well-renowned TITANIC: THE MUSICAL, produced by the Barley Sheaf Players. I thought it appropriate to give Keith the night off and bring my sister, Linda Clark, who has been a Titanic Historian since she was seven years old. To briefly qualify Linda a TITANIC reviewer, she has written several articles on its history, including one for the Germantown Crier.

Please note, this is not the 1997 James Cameron film.

TITANIC: THE MUSICAL opened on Broadway in 1997 and is the winner of five Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical. TITANIC is set on the ocean liner RMS Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912, taking 1,517 souls with her.

Even before the show starts, the actors of Barley Sheaf are getting busy. Walk into the theater and a period-dressed lady’s maid and steward greet you and show you to your seat. Even the pre-show announcement was authentic. We were impressed with the simple yet massive set, equipped with portholes, and were wondering how a cast of 40, one of the largest casts in Barley Sheaf history, was going to fit on stage. Not only did they fit, but there was also plenty of room to fit the band.

The band, conducted by pianist Jeremy Wheeler, was made up of seven musicians and had an illustrious sound of 30.

Director Doug Schultz should be proud of this massive undertaking. Take a look at the cast list and you’ll see that there are no “real” principal roles, which makes this show unique. Some have more stage time, but most of the time the entire ensemble are on stage.

The music, songs, and script flowed nicely throughout the entire show, and the harmonies were well blended.

Elizabeth Hennessy plays Kate McGowan, a young woman who is smitten with a young traveling man and also with child. Hennessy’s performance is once again phenomenal as it was in the last show I saw her in. She’s a natural in beauty and talent.

Katie Farnum portrays the first-class wannabe Alice Beane to perfection. Farnum has an inviting stage presence and friendly dancing eyes that lure you to her every time she’s on stage.

Stoker Frederich Barret, played by Mitchell King, had a voice that would make any heart melt.

These are just a few actors who stood out to me, but the entire cast should be commended for such a stellar performance.

Although we know how it ends, this cast has their own wonderful and mesmerizing way to grasp your attention and you may shed a tear or two.

The remaining run of the show is sold out, but you may request to be placed on a waiting list. Bring the tissues.

Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston
Book by Peter Stone
Directed by Doug Schultz
March 6 – 28, 2015
The Barley Sheaf Players
810 N Whitford Road
Lionville, PA 19353
(610) 363-7075

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Laura and Keith Clattenburg

Laura and Keith Clattenburg

Keith S. Clattenburg, adopted into a loving family at birth, started studying music/piano at the age of five. His parents, accomplished musicians, insisted on perfection and instilled those characteristics in Keith. He is a graduate of Abington High School where he won many awards for his talent on the piano and he was the PIAA State Choir accompanist in 1975 and 1976. He continued with piano lessons until 1975 when he switched to organ. Following graduation, Keith went into the United State Marine Corps and as a recruit he was in charge of the Sunday morning religious services on Parris Island. Surrounded by music growing up, Keith took a liking to the theater from a very young age, seeing everything possible from opera, plays and of course musicals. THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Valley Forge Music Fair in King of Prussia, along with many other musicals in Philadelphia and New York piqued his interest. Keith got involved with groups in the area and started playing the piano, then blossomed to becoming resident Musical Director of King of Prussia Players. Laura T. Clattenburg has performed, stage managed, and produced for Pages to Pirouettes and the King of Prussia Players since 2007. She is an alumna of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts as a vocal major, was vocally trained at Settlement Music School in Germantown, and moved onto a career as a graphic artist. She is a former board member for the King of Prussia Players, where she is currently the Graphic Designer for all marketing materials and programs. Keith and Laura recently started a new venture: B Sharp Productions, a commercial theater company.

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