TITANIQUE: A New Day Has Come – Show Review by Ali Skylar

You’ve got to have a ton of guts to go out and impersonate the one-of-a-kind Celine Dion.  Let alone use a slew of her songs as the musical score for a theatrical production.

Well, that’s exactly what Tony Award-winning producer Eva Price (Jagged Little Pill, Oklahoma!) did with TITANIQUE, “the irresistibly funny and irreverent send-up of the blockbuster film Titanic, featuring the songs of pop icon Céline Dion.”

On Sunday, May 2nd, TITANIQUE: THE MAIDEN VOYAGE CONCERT, based upon the full musical, streamed live from the stage of Greenwich Village nightclub Le Poisson Rouge in New York. 

While the storyline of the concert followed the movie’s plot, at every twist and turn there were references to all types of contemporary life, thrown in to make the storyline fun, accessible, and relatable to today’s audience.  

References to all types of celebrity folks, social media craziness, our current pandemic lifestyle, and even a quick political comment showed up with humor and heart.

As per the press release, the concept goes like this: “Céline Dion casually hijacks a Titanic Museum tour and enchants the audience with her totally wild take, recharting the course of Titanic’s beloved moments and characters with her iconic song catalog.” 

Marla Mindelle (Sister Act, Cinderella, South Pacific), plays Celine and does a great impersonation of the iconic singer. We all know Celine is a hoot. And so was Marla! She has a couple of tough shoes to fill though singing Celine’s songs, and I wouldn’t wish this challenge on anyone – no matter how talented a singer they are!  Celine’s range is outrageous. 

In general, Marla did a really nice job – she’s got a poweful voice. Although to this musician’s ear, a bit flat on the high notes in the beginning of the concert. She did gain more power as the show progressed and was right on the mark when she flitted in and out of various duets or solos of the other performers. Marla did an amazing rendition of the beloved song, My Heart Will Go On, towards the end of the show. Kudos!

The rest of the awesomely talented and you could tell giving it their all cast, included Constantine Rousouli (Cruel Intentions, Wicked, Hairspray) as Jack Dawson, Alex Ellis (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Legally Blonde) as Rose DeWitt Bukater, Frankie J. Grande (Rock of Ages, Mamma Mia, “Big Brother”) as Victor Garber, Kathy Deitch (“American Horror Story”, Wicked, Magic Mike XXL) as The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Kyle Ramar Freeman (Once On This Island Nat’l Tour) as The Iceberg Bitch, John Riddle (Frozen, Phantom of the Opera) as Cal, Randy Blair (Amélie) as Ruth, and Jalynn Steele (The Lightning Thief) and Courtney Bassett (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) as Ensemble.

TITANIQUE is Directed by Tye Blue (Rumer Willis’ Over the Love Tour; “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Assoc. Producer); Co-Written by Tye Blue, Marla Mindelle and Constantine Rousouli; and Choreographed by Ellenore Scott (Little Shop of Horrors); with Music Supervision, Arrangements and Orchestrations by IRNE Award winner Nicholas Connell. Production Stage Management is by Christopher Kee Anaya-Gorman.

Alex Ellis was just a cutie pie as Rose.  And she’s got pipes and heart!  A great combo that served her well in this role. Clearly a talent to be reckoned with who has great ability at navigating the many demands of this type of naive yet determined character.

Constantine Rousouli played a very lovable Jack. He was a gentleman not just in character, but also in playing opposite Alex.  They both worked well at playing with each other as well as off each other.

Randy Blair (Amélie) as Ruth was so believable and played his pompous, old lady character to a tee, I almost forgot at times that he was a guy and a young guy no less.  He definitely wore those pearls well.  

A special shout out to Kyle Ramar Freeman who knocked it out of the park in a high energy moment of the show as the Iceberg Bitch. A song and performance not to be missed. Ah-mazing!

Let’s not forget the band. Professional and talented musicians who followed the singers impeccably and created a musical foundation that allowed the audience to sit back and enjoy every moment of the concert.

I especially loved how simple props were used to make this concert come to life in a way that it wouldn’t have if they were just performing the songs. Some props that come to mind are a huge heart-shaped arts and crafts diamond, suspenders, wigs, fake pearls from Forever 21, oars and an eggplant – all used to bring the story to life and ignite our imaginations to help us become more involved in the story.

The clever choreography, designed to work within a very small and limited space that was just big enough for 3 musicians, the actors, two backup singers, chairs and music stands, also added another dimension helping the audience feel like we were watching a “musical” not just a concert.  

Although we weren’t in the midst of the full musical theater glory filled with staging, ingenious props, and magical lighting, the props and choreography reminded us of how creative minds will ALWAYS find ways to bring stories to life, no matter where they are, or what the limitations might seem to be.  

From my perspective, TITANIQUE was a bit campy and predictable, but it was clear that it is a labor of love.  Not just from the writers, director, choreographer or producer, but from the band and actors as well. You could tell they were deeply committed to making this show work – and did so seamlessly as an ensemble. 

I can assure you that If you love Celine Dion,  a fan of the movie Titanic, and you relish seeing great musical theater talent do their thing, then for sure you will enjoy Titanique.

For more information, visit: www.titaniquemusical.com


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