Ford’s Theatre, Washington DC
2017-04-14 • 19:30
An absolutely thrilling production. Apart from the trite staging gimmick of having the cast warm up on stage before the performance started and observe from the sides as in a Bartlett Sher production, there was little that I didn’t love.
The onstage orchestra was out of this world. The trumpet and trombone players, in particular, were outstanding and gave me goosebumps throughout the performance.
Kevin McAllister gave a wonderful performance as Coalhouse — more nuanced than most. Nova Y. Payton played Sarah with gusto, even though her voice erred a little bit too much into Effie White territory at times. Tracy Lynn Olivera, DC’s resident diva, managed to bring subtlety to the part of Mother. But no performance came close to matching that of Jonathan Atkinson as Tateh.
Signature Theatre, Arlington VA
2017-01-28 • 20:00
There is very little to fault in this magnificent production of Titanic, except maybe the sound design, which doesn’t quite manage to overcome the challenges created by the unusual spatial configuration, with the audience sitting on all four sides of the stage.
Working with a set consisting of little more than four gangways, director Eric Schaeffer has imagined an immersive staging that is both fascinating to the eye and emotionally powerful. The gripping opening sequence has never been more potent, with the added bonus of almost flawless singing from a highly capable cast.
The song “I Give You My Hand”, which was cut in previews prior to the Broadway opening, has been reinstated. It is a nice example of Yeston’s writing talent and is beautifully performed by Iyona Blake and Chris Sizemore.
This is undoubtedly one of the best productions I’ve seen at Signature. For some reason, it caused me to reminisce about the very first production I saw at the old Signature Theatre in 2003, Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, already staged by Eric Schaeffer.