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L.A. Beat

Titanic undertaking to help LSCO programming this week at the Yates

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 If you’ll pardon the easy pun, putting on the musical version of the Peter Stone penned / Maury Yeston composed Tony Award Winning musical of the Titanic, is a “Titanic” undertaking.Director Fran Rude works with actors Jessica Ens and Aaron Tyslan during rehearsals for the Titanic. Photo by Richard Amery
 The LSCO fundraising presentation happens at the newly renovated Yates Centre, Oct. 18-20.

Including crew, there are over 120 people involved in the production from all walks of life and of varying theatrical experience from people who are brand new to the stage to people to whom the stage is like a second home.

There are familiar faces from Hatrix, Shakespeare in the Park, Playgoers of Lethbridge LMT and the U of L and even New West Theatre veterans, plus people who have never on stage before and people who haven’t been on stage for a while.
“Ken Rogers and I won’t put on any musical that isn’t outside the box,” said director Fran Rude who is directing a cast of 39 plus working with Rogers to organize an orchestra of 21 and  a chorus of 42.

“Go big or go home,” she said.
“It isn’t anything like the movie, emphasized Rude, who is excited to piece the entire show together during “Hell Week.”

 Instead it is based on the book “ A Night to Remember,” by Walter Lord and Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck.

“That‘s important because it is based on interviews with the survivors and their descendants,” Rude said.

 She is excited to welcome James Robinson back to the stage as E.J Captain Smith.
“As soon as I decided to do this, I had James in mind for the captain. We haven’t been on the stage together for 30 years when we were in South Pacific together,” she said.
“I wanted to be involved because wanted to work with Fran,” said Robinson.

“But I’m really excited to work with all of these young people. And the musical score is really amazing,” he continued.

“It’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been on stage,” he said, adding he is also excited to help the LSCO with this production.
“Ken and I are both members of the LSCO, so it is really important to us,” she said.

 The LSCO was so pleased with the successful revival of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2016, that they asked Rude and Rogers to put on another musical, so they were excited to take on the Titanic, to raise money for  LSCO’s programming.
Rude noted the production is really about the stories of the people on board the Titanic. Everything moves the narrative along, including the music.

“It’s not your usual song and dance musical. The songs help tell the story,” she said.Ken Rogers directs the choir for the Titanic. Photo by Richard Amery
“It‘s a very involved storyline,” Rude said.

“It’s about the people involved. It focuses on them,” Rude said.
The musical swept the 1997 Tony Awards in all categories it was nominated in, winning best musical, best book and best score. It is undergoing a successful run in the United Kingdom.
The story of the Titanic, which sank on it’s maiden voyage, April 15, 1912, is a fascinating tale of tragedy, but most importantly people trying to cope with it.

“There were a dozen different causes for that collision. If any one of them had been different, you wonder how it might have turned out differently. You get to know that there were real people on board. And that tragedy resulted in an overhaul of the regulations that have made cruise ships the safest way to travel,” she said.
“People are going to be impacted by this show deeply,” Robinson said.
 The show is more than 70 per cent sold out. The show runs Oct. 18-21 at 7:30 p.m. each night and at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct, 21. Tickets are $45 available through the Ticket Centre.

 A version of this story appears in the Oct. 17, 2018 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper
— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
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