Titanique Making A Longer Splash Off-Broadway – See It Now Through Nov. 6By Caroline Cao | September 27, 2022 | Entertainment
Theatre connoisseur Caroline Cao dives right into Titanique, which is extending its run at Asylum NYC.
Think you really know the story of the 1912 Titanic disaster? Enter Celine Dion, the stratospheric sensational singer, who spills out the truth of the infamous maiden voyage that inspired James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster that featured her hit, “My Heart Will Go On.” Turns out, Celine Dion (an oozingly hilarious Marla Mindelle, who also wrote the show) knows something about Jack and Rose that Cameron dared not reveal.
The lovingly cobbled parody musical proves to be rip-roaring fun and lives up to its often-sold-out hype. The renditions of Celine Dion’s hits are luscious, sung with a sincere length and comic riffs.
The references are rife and the comic shenanigans (directed by one of its writers, Tye Blue) fire their goofiness on all cylinders. There’s genuine steam to the parody renditions of Rose and Jack. Sure, Alex Ellis and Constantine Rousouli (co-author), their respective performers, are jabbing at the instantaneous immediacy of love at first sight. But they do — quite soulfully — believe that their star-crossed class-defying romance is its own wholesome sanctuary. It’s also a wonder that they and the ensemble can keep a straight face around the wolfishly funny Ken Wulf Clark as Cal, Rose’s possessive fiance (who seems more interested in Grindr), as well as Courtney Bassett (the understudy for Ruth) as Rose’s ever so scathing mother.
The cast is rounded out with a delightfully sassy Jaye Alexander as (wait for it) the Iceberg, anthropomorphized as Tina Turner; Kathy Deitch and the matronly and strong-willed Molly Brown; and Blu Allen‘s (understudy on my day) performance as Victor Garber and Jack’s bestie Luigi (totally wearing those green overalls of Mario’s bro).
Some of the absolute highlights include the inexplicably large tinseled Heart of the Ocean diamond necklace, which makes for amusement when Cal dorkishly bequeathed it on Rose’s neck, then tries to plant it on Jack. In addition, there’s an improv segment to keep the show’s rewatchability fresh. On my matinee, Celine recounted Jack and Rose’s adventure down the bowels of the Titanic where they discover a Dunkin’ Donuts and somehow lose their eyes (which Rousouli and Ellis pantomime with priceless expressions).
Also, be patient for an absurd twist ending that works precisely because it rewards the audience rather than just prodding the laugh.
Titanique is smooth sailing of an intermission-free 95 minutes. Though, a note to musical aficionadoes: There’s no discernible sighting of Titanic The Musical jokes, which I viewed in the New York Public Library archives in hopes of catching jokes that may sail over a general audience that is acquainted with Cameron’s film. It seems irresistible since the Tony-winning musical coincidentally came out the same year as the James Cameron movie. But Titanique thrives and sails fine without them.
Titanique runs until November 6 at Asylum NYC. Yes, Celine Dion will thank you for seeing a show performed in the basement of an abandoned Gristedes.
photo credit: Vivacity PR, Emilio Madrid