Yes, the ship sinks. Happily, the musical does not. 'Titanic,' that is, now onstage with a cast of 37 at Northern Kentucky University. Composer-lyricist Maury Yeston and author Peter Stone have created a show with close to continuous music, solos for more than 20 people, huge choral numbers and frequent shifts of scene from bow to stern. The cast members are nicely matched to their music and to each other.
No swindle here: a professional cast, a polished design, an 11-player orchestra, a hot show just a few seasons removed from Broadway, a reasonable ticket price, all in comfortably posh surroundings at Covington's Carnegie Center. For a musical about con artists, 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' is surprisingly on the level.
This collection of songs by Stephen Sondheim, skimming numbers from shows he'd created during the previous 20 years, will certainly see more productions in the present economic climate because it can be done with a small cast and a minimal set. For his Commonwealth Theatre Company production at NKU, director Mark Hardy has used three women and one man plus a single piano for accompaniment. While several songs are delivered with style and talent, the construct feels forced and inconsistent.