The Tony award-winning musical Titanic will be sailing into the Grand Opera House in April.
This week the theatre officially launched the show at the home of the Titanic in Belfast, much to the delight of the director, producers and cast members who travelled over for the special occasion.
This will be the first time that the musical, which shares the emotive story of the ‘ship of dreams’, has been professionally staged in Belfast, something that is in equal measures exciting and nerve-wrecking for director Thom Southerland.
The renowned director, who recently brought the musical version of Angela’s Ashes to the Opera House, is passionate about Titanic the Musical and hopes the local audience will share his enthusiasm.
“It is such and honour to be here to talk about the prospect of Titanic coming home,” Thom told the invited guests at the tour launch in Titanic Belfast this week.
Explaining his interest in Titanic and passion for the story of the musical, Thom said: “I was on holiday in New York and found a souvenir brochure of the original Broadway production with incredible images of the production.
“I headed to a record store to listen to the score. I couldn’t believe justice could be done to the story but I saw immediately that it was. The score was tremendous. I then desperately tried to get the rights for the show to allow people in Europe and the UK to see it.”
It was vitally important to Thom that the production honours the men and women who sailed on Titanic, as well as those who built her.
“We begin the show with Thomas Andrews poring over the plans for the ship of dreams, a ‘floating city’, and how he dared to dream of what would be possible.
“I desperately hope the audience see that we pay tribute to the people whose lives were given to it, the people who built her, who dreamed up the idea of what would become Titanic.
“The production has around 25 actors who play almost 80 characters. Every person you see on stage is real and is taken from the list of passengers who boarded Titanic.
“I know the story of Titanic but you do learn something really new about the story.
“The most adventurous shows are the most rewarding.
“This is a musical for people who don’t usually like musical but it is also a musical for people who adore them. You will have a wonderful, wild night out at the theatre.
“I was incredibly nervous about bringing Titanic home but it is such a privilege. I am very, very excited.”
Co-producer Steven Levy also shares a fascination and passion for the story of Titanic, an interest that goes back to his childhood.
“When I was 15 years old growing up in New York I saw the film ‘A Night to Remember’ and from that moment I became engrossed with everything to do with Titanic,” he explained. “I read every book on it. It was an unending interest I had in Titanic.
“In 1997 I was working in a theatre in New York across the road from the Broadway version of Titanic and I think I must have been one of the first people to buy a ticket.
“I was immediately absorbed by the drama and that it wasn’t just a cheesy exploitation but a show with heart,
“It has tremendous appeal with audiences but also very much artistic integrity.
“The show is a tribute to the people who were on board the ship. It is handled in a very sensitive manner and deals with the hopes and dreams of the people on board.”
Titanic the Musical will run at the Grand Opera House in Belfast from Tuesday April 24 - Saturday April 28. Tickets are priced from £41.25 - £20.25 and are available by visiting goh.co.uk.