UCF's Titanic the Musical critique

My Critique Of UCF Theatre's Show 'Titanic The Musical'

A story of the famous ship that sank!

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Overall the UCF theatre production of Titanic: The Musical was phenomenal! Watching all the aspects gave me a different understanding and appreciation of live theatre. The correlation from class discussions to live production is spot on. I already love theatre and going to watch shows but, going in with a perspective to watch all the technical design work gave it more meaning to myself. Throughout the whole show, I was in awe of how cohesive the movements of set changes, to entrances, to the days on the ship were all put together.

I found myself growing angry at some characters and fond of others. One thing I was a little critical about was the staging of the first number, how the actors were presented on the projections and lit up and how they had to squeeze into the line. I didn't like how it was noticeable that they had to work their way in. I also didn't like how the places the actors stood in the first number on the stairs and on the floor was not mirrored. There was the right amount of people but it threw me off when you have two on the stairs on one side while the other side had only one person.

Within directing, watching the musical I clearly saw the director's vision for the show. I understood the movement and choices made because they were done properly and efficiently. Every entrance was swift and precise, as well as made with a purpose in relation to the script. The various levels of direction between upstage, downstage, on the platform (the bridge) and even up the aisle in the audience were flawless and timely. My favorite was the entrance coming down the aisle in the audience, we weren't expecting it and gave us all a shock as well a laugh since the character ultimately missed the ship's departure. The director's note in the playbill had given me an insight into the plot of the show and the tragedy that is the Titanic with numbers and statistics of the actual events.

The role of the dramaturgy was done explicitly and perfectly. The show depicted exactly the time period of the Titanic and it was clearly represented on stage. The dramaturgy helped all the technical designers, for them to complete their jobs respectfully and correctly. The dramaturgy also helped the actors, for some had accents that had to fit in with the role they were to play. I heard all different types of accents: Irish for the "Kates", British, and the American. Each accent had matched perfectly with the character and never faltered. There wasn't a dramaturgy note to read for this musical but even without the note, I still specifically saw the time period that was being displayed and the work is done through the dramaturgy.

As a whole, the acting was impeccable. I was amazed and I wish I was a part of the show as well! It makes me miss the theatre! The accents I stated before were perfect and were consistent. The big numbers where all the voices are strung together were extremely powerful and fulfilling. Hearing all the actors sing at once was outstanding and I loved it. My favorite actors were the older couple (the Straus'), the actors had portrayed those characters perfectly and at the end made me cry at how they stayed together instead of separating from one another. The cast had successfully told the story of the Titanic in a manner where there seemed to be no mistakes. I applaud the cast on such a beautiful job with sharing their voices and heart into the production.

The costumes were perfect to the time period and to the status of the characters. There was a clear distinction between first class, second class, third class, and the workers on the ship. The difference from fur to satin to silk was present and even the added jewels to dresses had that spark. The costumes had a unique light to them that was creative and original. I loved how Alice Beane was wearing a green dress the whole show and in one scene she changed into a green nightgown, keeping the same color scheme to the character so the audience will recognize her.

The lighting of the show was done in such a manner that not only were all the actors lit up but gave the show some meaning. The projections of the ship in the opening was cleaver and it had helped give the scene context. Then, the ship at the end was a nice contrast when you clearly saw the projection tilted and slowly "sinking". With the actors going up the stairs with the projection in the background really portrayed the illusion that they were climbing up the deck to reach the point of the ship. The lightning had also shared the mood of the show, whenever there was a crescendo in the music and singing, the lights brightened highlighting powerful moments.

The sound designer had successfully made every actor heard clearly and in an efficient volume. The sound designer had also made sure there was never a dull moment and ineffective silence. There were always bustling movements, chattering, and glasses of champagne clinking. There was also the big moment of the ship hitting the ice burg where you heard the scrapping of the ship against the ice. The way the sound designer created the sound and how it was long and dragged out, made it feel as if you were getting more and more uncomfortable and anxious.

The set was minimalistic but effective to the storyline. The stairs had served at the entry to the boat and stairs within the boat from the first class to the third class and up to the bridge. The "bridge" was a strip high above the ground of the ship with the steering wheel in the middle. I liked how the projection sheets were served as doors for the passengers for all classes. Also, I liked how when the ship was sinking the platter cart had moved across the stage without anyone touching it.

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The 11 Most Meaningful 'Dear Evan Hansen' Quotes

Eleven of my favorite quotes from the new musical "Dear Evan Hansen" that changed my perspective after seeing the musical live.
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The new musical Dear Evan Hansen, showing on Broadway's Music Box Theater is a suprisingly uplifting story about a boy who kills himself, and the star of the show (Evan Hansen played by Ben Platt) getting caught up in a messy lie, pretending to be best friends with the boy who took his life.

The story, however, is much more than one of sadness or suicide. It is one of love, the unconditional kind and the kind that you find yourself falling into. It is a story of friendship and forgiveness and owning up to your mistakes. But most importantly it is a story of accepting yourself and becoming confident in your own skin.

I was given the opportunity to see Dear Evan Hansen live on Broadway, and after hearing the songs live, the lyrics gave me a whole new meaning than when I would listen to them in my room through my headphones.

1. "I've learned to slam on the break, before I even turn the key."

Coming from the first song that was released off of the soundtrack "Waving Through a Window," this line helps charactarize Evan as anxious and nervous during interactions with others. Hitting the brake while starting a car is not necessary for it to start, but he creates this metaphor by saying he takes extra and unnecessary cautions before entering any seemingly simple and easy situation. As Evan is characterized, the audience or the listeners are able to connect better to him and to the story because more people than we may know must go through anxious thoughts and actions, that can be very difficult to live with.

2. "No one should stick it out or have any doubt that it matters that they are here."

"Dissappear," a song sung by Evan and his two friends as a proposal to Connor's (boy who committed suicide and was presumably best friends with Evan) parents about a project they are beginning to keep Connor's legacy alive, is a straightforward remark that "no one deserves to dissappear." This quote recognizes the struggles that many people face of hiding their struggles and not doing anything to fix them because they think it would be easier to hide it. It recognizes that people should not have to do this, and it is a request for people who are going through the things that Connor did to reach out and tell people that they are struggling, because it really does get better and asking for help is the first step.

3. "It takes a little patience, takes a little time. A little perseverance and a little uphill climb."

I believe this quote can relate to many things. It is a duet sung by Connor's father and Evan, titled "To Break in A Glove." Though it is literally talking about the correct way to break in a baseball glove, it can also be talking about parenting, school, or recovery from depression, anxiety, or any other mental disorders that can be consuming. Connor's dad was not anything of a prime parent to Connor, and this quote can mean that parenting a kid to your full potential takes patience and time. School, another big struggle in Evan's life as well as Connor's, takes patience but as does the most consuming and memorable aspect that the musical is addressing: overcoming depression and anxiety so that it does not consume you and lead to the decision that Connor ended up making. Though it may seem like a neverending cycle of depressing thoughts, to overcome them it takes patience and perseverance, much like any other accomplishment.

4. "Even when the dark comes crashing through, and when you need a friend to carry you, when you're broken on the ground you will be found."

From what is most definitely my favorite song from the soundtrack, "You Will Be Found" addresses the fact that so many people feel alone and feel as though Connor did. This line shows that even though you may feel alone and you may be at your darkest, deepest point, there will always be help and support and someone to care for you. You are not alone.

5. "I'd rather pretend I'm something better than these broken parts, pretend I'm something other than this mess that I am."

The line from "Words Fail" shows Evan at his most vulnerable. It shows the side of him that he wishes no one to witness because it is his worst side. I find this song to be the most emotional, and most importantly because the lyrics can be related to so well. With depression and anxiety, people can act out and do things as they see fit to make themselves feel better, which is partly what Evan did, pretending to be Connor's friend. This quote shows the reasons behind those actions, helping people in the same position feel relieved for the things that they think are going wrong only for them.

6. "When you're falling in a forest and there's nobody around do you evern really crash or even make a sound?"

This line is another from "Waving Through a Window" and ties to Evan's anxiety as well. It shows the slow deterioration of one's mind, and how no one even notices when someone is going through things like that, hence the metaphor to the tree falling in a forest and no one hearing it because no one is there. It is making a notion to the fact, also, that people are so afraid to discuss the issues of suicide and depression and anxiety, and that it is a problem especially among youth.

7. "Why should I play the grieving girl and lie saying that I miss you and that my world has gone dark without your light?"

This line from "Requiem," sung by Connor's sister and parents, is a different perspective of what happened to Connor, a more cynical perspective. While it may seem insensitive, I enjoy that Zoe (Connor's sister) stands her ground with her relationship with her brother and remains indifferent, instead of lying about loving him just because she isn't able to anymore.

8. "If I could tell her how she's everything to me, but we're a million worlds apart and I don't know how I would even start."

Although this is about how Evan feels about Zoe - not Connor - it shows how crippling it can be to wish you could be able to tell someone something, especially about your mental disablities, but you feel like you can't because you aren't close enough or don't know where to begin.

9. "So you got what you always wanted, so you got your dream come true, good for you."

This song is a turning point in the musical where Evan's actions begin to creep back up on him. It shows that even though you get what you wish for, it isni't always perfect all together. This line shows also that what you first think you want isn't always going to lead to the perfect life or the perfect girl or the perfect family, and you must not face your struggles with lies as Evan did.

10. "Your mom isn't going anywhere your mom is staying right here no matter what, I'll be here."

This comes from the song "So Big/So Small," when Evan apoligizes to his mother about abandoning her essentially for Connor's parents and she confesses to the hardships she has faced as a single mother who doesn't make much money. This is one of my favorite quotes, because it displays unconditional love from your family, and shows that no matter what it is you go through and no matter how much loathe you may feel for yourself, your family loves you and supports you.

11. "Dear Evan Hansen, today is going to be a great day and here's why: because today at least you're you and, well, that's enough."

These opening words to the finale close up the message of the show: that you are enough, no matter what anyone tells you and no matter what you begin to tell yourself. Making mistakes is human, as is having depression or anxiety, and just because you make mistakes or you have depressed thoughts does not mean that you are any less of a person than someone who doesn't feel the same as you. This musical and this line taught me that no matter what, you are wanted, you are needed, and you are worth it no matter what you do or what you go through.

Cover Image Credit: Dear Evan Hansen Official Website

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4 New Broadway Musicals You Have To Listen To

Broadway fans need to try these musicals out!

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This year has officially got me excited about Broadway musicals again.

After last year's lineup of new musicals that were vastly unoriginal and mostly based off of huge movie/TV hits like "Mean Girls," "Spongebob," and "Frozen," the musicals coming to Broadway this year feel like a breath of fresh air.

Here are four musicals that have recently come to Broadway that I am very excited about.

1. "Hadestown"

Though this musical has actually been in the works for over a decade, Anaïs Mitchell's version of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice only recently made it to Broadway. It has quickly become a hit, reigning in 12 Tony Award nominations.

And there's no question as to why. As of right now, the cast recording has not come out yet, but what few clips of the musical are out (plus the live recording of the Off-Broadway version) are just breathtaking.

Mixing a variety of genres from Louisiana-style jazz to more traditional dramatic Broadway music, it's a diverse and creative retelling of this myth.

2. "The Prom"

"The Prom" is one of the few truly original, not-based-on-anything musicals out there at the moment. And the story it tells is both uplifting and incredibly relevant at the moment.

The story follows a lesbian teen who isn't allowed to take her girlfriend to the prom and four self-centered Broadway actors that travel to her small town in Indiana to help her while boosting their own images.

It's both a great exploration of coming out in a small town and on how wanting fame makes people do crazy things.

If I'm being honest, none of the songs really hooked me into this musical. They're good, but none of them wowed me. However, the original story makes this musical worthy of a mention.

3. "Moulin Rouge"

The Baz Luhrmann jukebox movie musical is finally taking its place onstage with a Broadway adaptation! Honestly, with such a crazy musical, I'm surprised it didn't take the stage sooner.

One of the best parts of the "Moulin Rouge" movie was how they took seemingly random songs — everything from Elton John's "Your Song" to Madonna's "Like a Virgin" — and made them work together well into one coherent story. And it looks like they're adding even more songs into the stage version.

And with Broadway stars Karen Olivo and Aaron Tveit taking the lead, it's really hard to go wrong with this musical. The musical actually hasn't opened on Broadway yet (it will this July), but from the few preview videos I've seen, this is definitely a musical to keep your eyes on.

4. "Be More Chill"

"Be More Chill" has a fascinating origin story that really sets it apart from other new Broadway musicals. The Off-Broadway cast recording was found on Spotify after the show had closed and it went super viral.

In fact, "Be More Chill" is probably bringing more young people into the theater than any other musical.

The musical's based on a novel of the same name and it follows the story of a high school kid who discovers a pill he can take that puts a tiny supercomputer in him that will make him the coolest kid in school. But at what cost?

It's fascinating how social media and technology, which is a huge theme of the musical, is what gave the musical life in the first place.

(Also the fact that George Salazar wasn't even nominated for a Tony for his above performance is a crime. Just needed to throw that out there.)

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