He called “Titanic” a dream show. Fever dreams. and it was this really was.
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The Off-Broadway Cuckoo Camp-Fest at the Asylum in Chelsea, a nautical mile away, is the funniest musical in town and is built on an unimaginable idea: it tells the story of the 1997 film “Titanic” using songs Is. French-Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion.
it is Dishonorable That no one would have ever thought of this mashup before.
After all, no singer is more closely associated with a (non-musical) film of this scale than Celine is from James Cameron’s “Titanic”—the two feed off of each other—and the rest of her popular catalog has the same sentimentality. There is loads and theatrical tales such as “My Heart Will Go On” the signature song of the Oscar-winning film.
And co-writers Marla Mindel, Constantine Roussouly and Ty Blue cleverly throw them wherever they can.
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When Jack and Rose first meet on deck, as Rose contemplates throwing herself overboard, they sing a duet of “Taking a Chance”.
“What do you say to take a chance? What do you say to jump off the edge?” They go. Perfection.
As the captain, hilariously referred to simply as Victor Garber, an Irish-divided Frankie Grande bops through “I drove all night” as he steers the doomed ship to go faster and faster. pushes.
The Unsinkable Molly Brown, played by Kathy Deitch, belts out “All By Myself” after surviving tragedy: “Those days are hooligans!”
The status quo goes beyond bonkers as the iceberg in Jay Alexander’s neon blue flapper wig in “River Deep, Mountain High” forces the other characters to “lip sync for your lifeboats.”
But the most inspired choice is making Celine — as strange as she is talented — the main character of a story that’s in no way all about her.
The outrageously funny Mindell plays Celine as an omniscient narrator, who we initially learn during a tour of the Titanic museum is actually 150 years old and was on board the ship with our favorite characters. Sure!
She pops every now and then to brilliantly outdo the other characters.
Mindell’s performance is a sensational, hilarious and deranged twist that rises above the 2 a.m. effect of Las Vegas. Yes, if you are a big fan of Celine, important, a certain tabloid newspaper critic, you’ll poke fun at the actress’s borrowed Celine-isms from old viral YouTube videos and from the album “A New Day Live.” But the performance – conversational, sometimes improvised and quite affectionate – is more than sarcasm.
Most impressively, the actress somehow recreated Dion’s superstar energy in the low-budget show, which was done in a basement filled with pillars smelling of Ajax. Whenever she comes on stage, the audience gets intoxicated to see her.
Stage movie parodies have been around for years, but what makes “Titanic” work so well is the million-dollar elevator pitch—”Titanic” told through Celine lyrics! — and the talents of the cast, all of whom are as strong a comedians as the singers.
Every role is given a new spin. Rousseau plays Jack as an awkwardly dumb hunk who pairs well with Alex Ellis’s distressed Jan Brady-style rose. John Riddle’s Cal is Billy Zane if Billy Zane went to Fire Island, and Ryan Duncan turns Ruth, Rose’s fiery mother, into a Joan Crawford who has just spotted a wire hanger.
They all made me smile straight to the end, which didn’t happen during the movie “Titanic”. Director Ty Blue’s staging, kitschy as it should be, is substantial and oddly grand even for a venue that hosted a comedy minutes after “Titanic” ended.
What the show could use is a musical moment, without the humor, that knocks us off. It comes terrifyingly close with a gorgeous full-cast rendition of “The Prayer,” which Dion often duets with Andrea Bocelli—I saw an audience member clutch her heart during it—but then it suddenly cuts off. A moment of peace, here and there, will make the laughter even bigger.
Still, as it is, “Titanic” is the ideal commercial Off-Broadway show. It knows who its audience is — the kind of people who choose to listen to an eight-minute version of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” and then click on replays — and brazenly works hard to entertain them. We do.
Right now, the music runs until September 25. But should it sink so quickly?