If Circle Players wanted to bring in 2009 with a major event, they probably couldn't have done any better than the world's most famous ocean liner heading bow-first into the icy North Atlantic. Maury Yeston's Tony-winning 1997 Broadway musical about Titanic's catastrophic maiden voyage actually pre-dated the James Cameron film, and, refusing to be hailed as a disaster, it ran on Broadway for more than 800 performances. Tim Larson is the director of this local launch, and the cast of 50 hails from all demographics, with plenty of familiar community theater faces and newcomers as well. There's no DiCaprio/Winslet love story here; instead, the musical adheres more to the historical facts of the ill-fated journey, while also offering a tragic sense of the realities of British class structure (a much higher percentage of first-class passengers survived). Plus, four Tennessee State University engineering students were tapped to design the set, which utilizes a tilting platform made of wood and steel and a hydraulic system to create the culminating illusion of the vessel's descent into its watery grave. The musical direction is by John Kennerly, with choreography by Kate Adams-Johnson.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 16. Continues through Jan. 31, 2009