Titanic Broadway Production History


In January 1997, rehearsals began in New York for Titanic, soon to become one of Broadway’s most treasured and spectacular musicals. A fabulous team is assembled, including book writer Peter Stone, composer and lyricist Maury Yeston, and director Richard Jones. The cast of 27 actors are drawn instantly to the characters living out their last hours aboard the sinking ship. All is coming together at a fast pace.


However, mounting a production of such magnitude takes a great amount of time, energy and money. Many questions arise. After all, how will the team make a ship sink on stage? Andrew Lloyd Webber conquered similar feats with the infamous chandelier. Of The Phantom of the Opera and helicopter of Miss Saigon. The theatrical downing of the R.M.S. Titanic presents even more of a challenge.


Titanic is forced to spend three extra days in “ tech” rehearsals (the time when all of the lighting, scenic, and technical aspects are added to the show). As a result, the first three previews are canceled. This delay causes a veritable frenzy among the New York press, whose critics and columnists have a ball writing headlines such as “Titanic Refuses to Leave Port,” and “This Titanic Won’t Sink.” But within days, they are all proved wrong.


On April 23, 1997, eighty-five years after the real R. M. S. Titanic sailed into history, Titanic opens at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theater. Rave reviews follow, and the show quickly becomes the hottest ticket in town. Month’s later, Titanic sweeps the Tony Awards, winning for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Orchestrations, and Best Set.


Titanic sails smoothly for another two years, setting house records for attendance and sales at the Lunt-Fontanne. In 1998, it begins a national tour, docking at theaters around the country.