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

by Laura and Keith Clattenburg

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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