Titanic: The Musical was a musical that opened on Broadway in 1997. It won five Tony Awards including the award for Best Musical. The story was written by Peter Stone with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. Titanic was set on the ocean liner RMS Titanic which sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.
Titanic's previews began with major technical troubles, but became a surprise hit. Many credit at least part of the show's success to former talk show host Rosie O'Donnell who championed the show, playing excerpts from the original cast album on her show and giving away tickets to members of her studio audience. Broadway pundits and theatre wags began criticizing the show from the moment it was announced, considering the story to be impossible to musicalize and impossible to stage in a live theater.
The lobby of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City, where the show premiered, was redecorated for the production: the complete passenger list of the Titanic was painted on the walls, noting those who ultimately survived the disaster.
The musical took many historical liberties, including changing who lived and died, but audiences found the show and the score to be both moving and enjoyable. The original cast included Victoria Clark, Brian D'Arcy James, Michael Cerveris, David Garrison, John Cunningham, Judith Blazer, and Jennifer Piech.
It also greatly vilified J. Bruce Ismay in the song "The Blame". Ismay blames the Captain and Andrews in the blame argument and doesn't answer any accusations toward him while Smith and Andrews answer to some of their accusations. In the end, Smith and Andrews try to shoulder the blame while Ismay still refuses to take any.
The production toured the United States after closing on Broadway, followed by several other tours with non-Equity performers. A Dutch production (European premiere) was also highly successful, and produced an original cast recording (sung in Dutch) as a companion to the original Broadway cast recording on RCA Records. The Toronto, Canada version premiered in February 2006 and the Australian production starring Nick Tate as Captain Smith will debut in October 2006.
Orchestrator Jonathan Tunick won the first-ever Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for his work on Maury Yeston's score.