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'These are real people.' Ovation Theatre honors the Titanic passengers on stage in its latest show

Titanic: The Musical is at Ovation Theatre until May 11. They say since the musical debuted in 1997, this is the first time it's been on a stage in Kern County.
Posted at 5:14 AM, Apr 24, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — After extensive research, actors in Titanic: The Musical say they're proud to honor the lives of real passengers aboard the famous ship in the latest show at the Ovation Theatre.

  • Video shows cast members sharing what went into preparing for this show. Portraying real people, they say, meant they needed to do extensive research to ensure they properly honored their memory.
  • Titanic: The Musical first debuted in 1997, and it's now on stage at the Ovation Theatre until May 11. Actors say the show does not shy away from the tragedy of Titanic, and they are proud to remember those who were on board.


You may be familiar with the tragedy of Titanic or the 1997 film adaptation, but did you know that same year, another interpretation was made? And now, it's on the stage making its Kern County debut.

"It really is an honor to be able to tell his story," Chris Bradford said.

Bradford is one of 28 actors in the Titanic: The Musical cast. He says for as well known as the tragedy of Titanic is,

"The real people's stories are often overlooked."

The musical adaptation of Titanic features real people who were on board the ship. Scott Deaton, who plays Captain Smith, says the show follows multiple characters.

"There is no lead here. Everybody has their moments," Deaton said.

The choice to make the show an ensemble cast with no one lead character was delibrate, Deaton said, to remind the audience that there was no main character when Titanic sank. There were hundreds of people experiencing the fear altogether.

The cast tells me that honoring the passenger's lives is what's most important.

"I'm trying to approach this with a lot of empathy."

Actors like El Friedman.

"Really play into the human aspect that these were real people with lives," Friedman said.

The cast says they even went one step further.

"We did extensive research," said Brandon Antongiovanni. "It's not the movie, these are actual people."

They learned what they could about the characters mentioned, they said, finding out about their lives leading up to or even after Titanic.

"I think I ended up with, like, 79 pages of biographies," Jessica Jensen said.

Jensen was someone tasked with researching. As she began her quest to try to understand the lives of those who boarded the ship over 100 years ago, Jensen says she realized the connection was uniquely human.

"They're not just stories," Jensen said. "You're able to hear and read and just understand because they're still humans just like we are."

Actors say this is the first time this musical has been on a stage in Kern County, and everything, down to the engineering of making the boat "sink," the costume and lighting design, is carefully thought out.

"You are seeing a production that is unique to this theatre to this town," said Paula Einstein. "How wonderful to have that kind of imagination and creativity going on here."

You can have a chance to see the musical on stage at the Ovation Theatre until May 11. Tickets can be purchased online through their website.

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