Character Descriptions

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Every actor in the show will be playing a character based on a real person who sailed on the Titanic, and most will be playing 2, 3, 4, or even 5 different characters. Below you’ll find some background info on each of the characters, some of which is related to what they do in the show, and some of which fleshes out their true stories beyond what will be seen onstage. Because there are so many featured characters in the show, it is simply impossible to list them in order of importance. There are “leads” in every category/class, and there are non-leads who are significantly featured and recognizable to the audience.

  • When a numeric age is listed, it denotes the age of the real person while they were on the Titanic. Stage ages are noted as well and are, of course, more flexible.
  • If no vocal range is listed, there is flexibility.
  • If no doubling is listed, that actor plays the same role throughout the show.
  • A nationality (or in the case of Britain – a region) is noted for each character who speaks. It will be our intent to help actors develop the proper accents, but you can certainly get started on that work yourself in advance, should you wish. There are many accent resources available online, and a stellar accent at auditions can only help you. Auditioning without an accent is fine too.
  • Children must be at least 7 years old by January 1, 2012 in order to audition.

(Many characters have listings in the Encyclopedia Titanica,
click the name to open a new window with their biography.)

TRIO OF LEADERS - Each with a flaw of character that impacted the outcome: compromise (Andrews), greed (Ismay), & compliance (Smith.)

Thomas Andrews, 39, was in charge of the plans for Titanic at Harland & Wolff Shipbuilders. He sailed to observe how well she did on her maiden voyage, constantly noting problems and ways to further perfect her functioning and comfort for passengers and crew alike. Strong yet quiet, and full of integrity, he is the moral compass and intellectual barometer of the show. In his deep desire to successfully balance the strength & safety necessary to navigate rough seas, with the beauty necessary to surpass wealthy expectations of opulence, he made several compromises in Titanic’s construction that could have saved her -- his recognition of those missteps is extraordinarily painful. Sings multiple solos, including the gut-wrenching climactic Andrews’ Vision as the ship sinks onstage. Tenor (A2-G4). • Stage age 30s/40s • Slight Irish accent, not a heavy brogue • Perished.
  J. Bruce Ismay, 49, was chairman and owner of the White Star Line. Savaged by the press for escaping in a lifeboat when so many others perished, it’s hard to know how much of the blame he actually deserved but he plays the role of misguided villain in the show. The line’s success & reputation matters more to him than anything else, including being liked, and he pushes the captain for more speed in order to make headlines with an early arrival in New York. High-brow, aloof, easily frustrated when disregarded, carries the burden and anxiety that goes with leadership. Featured singer in several songs including The Blame. Baritone (A2-G4) • Stage age 40s-50s • British • Survived.
  Captain E.J. Smith, 62, was lured out of an intended retirement to take command of one last maiden voyage. Unfortunately it was his last, as he went down with the ship. A fatherly figure with white hair and beard, he commands with deep care for his passengers and encouragement toward his younger officers. He takes his responsibility for all the souls aboard very seriously, and struggles over conflict with Ismay on how best to proceed, complying too often. Featured singer in several songs including The Blame. Baritone (B-flat 2 to F4) • Stage age late 50s-60s • British, lived in Liverpool, but would speak proper English • Perished.

TRIO OF YOUNG CREW - Each with firsthand knowledge of the forces instrumental to the tragedy: speed (Barrett), ice (Bride), & poor visibility (Fleet.)

Frederick Barrett is based on 2 stokers on the Titanic who shared the same name and were close in age: one 28, and the other 33. He is strappingly strong, keenly intelligent, and capable. He questions the motivations of the powers-that-be to speed up, struggles with the monotony of his occupation, and takes the giant step of sending a marriage proposal back to his girl on shore via the newfangled wireless. When the ship sinks he gives up a place steering one of the lifeboats, and sings a powerful goodbye to his lost love (one of several solos he carries, including Barrett’s Song.) Tenor (A2-G4) • Stage age 20s-early 30s • East Midlands accent (similar to Yorkshire) • Note: One of the Barretts on the Titanic died, the other lived. The audience never really knows whether this one survives in the end, but they don’t SEE him escape, so tend to assume he perished.
  Harold Bride, 22, was one of two wireless operators on the Titanic who received ice warnings and relayed the SOS call, but in the show he is the only operator. A shy and socially awkward young man, he obviously yearns for connection, but stumbles in relationships with other people. He has found in his telegraph machine a fascinating and thoroughly engaging way to connect to people the world over – much like the awkward souls of today find the web an easier place to connect than real life. Sings several solos including The Night Was Alive. Baritone (C3-G4) • Stage age 20s-early 30s • British • Survived by standing atop overturned lifeboat Collapsible B all night.
  Frederick Fleet, 24, was one of two lookouts in the crow’s nest when the iceberg was sighted, but far too late due to poor visibility and missing binoculars. In the show he is the only lookout. He completes the main trio of young crew in the opening number, sings the soaring solo lead in No Moon, and calls out the fateful warning, “Iceberg, right ahead!” Actor cannot be afraid of heights, as Fleet will be perched on a tiny platform about 20 feet in the air for a good 15 minutes! Tenor (C3-G4) • Stage age 20s-early 30s • Born in Liverpool • Survived in Lifeboat #6 • This actor will also double as 1st class dancer in “Latest Rag” and 3rd class in “Ladies’ Maid” & “Wake Up.”

OFFICERS

William Murdoch, 1st Officer, 39, was an experienced officer who really should have been a captain by now, but wasn’t sure he was up to it. He was Captain Smith’s right hand, and was at the bridge in Smith’s place when the iceberg was sighted. Murdoch made the decisions and gave the orders that sealed Titanic’s fate. He wrestles with horrific guilt at the end; in wanting to prove to himself that he was capable of flying solo, he instead played a part in the death of 1517 souls. Featured singer in several songs, and has a poignant solo moment considering the meaning of being the one in charge - holding the fate of all those aboard in his hands (To Be a Captain). Baritone (C3-F#4) • Stage age 30s-early 40s • Scottish born, could veer British • Perished, possibly by shooting himself before the final plunge.
  Charles Lightoller, 2nd Officer, 38, was the highest ranking officer to survive the sinking, and consequently it is through his testimony that most of our knowledge of the tragedy stems. (In the 1958 Titanic film called “A Night to Remember,” he is the main character.) Confident & competent, he strictly adhered to “women & children only” in loading lifeboats, and survived himself on the same overturned boat as Harold Bride, organizing all those balancing atop it so that they didn’t capsize. Significant speaking role, with several featured solo moments as well. Stage age 30s-early 40s • British, born in Lancashire • Survived atop Collapsible B.
  Herbert Pitman, 3rd Officer, 33, served faithfully aboard the Titanic, helped uncover the lifeboats, and was placed in command of lifeboat #5, in which he survived. In the show he has the lion’s share of the solos in the opening number (loading the ship with cargo and introducing passengers) and also doubles as The Major in 1st class and as a 3rd class passenger. Because of tripling, this actor must be a chameleon, able to differentiate distinct character types. He will be most featured as the Major. Stage age late 30s-late50s • British, born in Somerset • Survived, in charge of lifeboat #5 • Doubles as the Major & 3rd class with a solo in Ladies’ Maid.
  Joseph Boxhall, 4th Officer, 28, served on the White Star Line’s Oceanic & Arabic before Titanic. As a junior officer he aids in navigation, keeps watch, and assists passengers and crew as needed. He was the one who tried in vain to signal the SS Californian by Morse code and flares. In the show, the actor playing this role doubles as 2nd class bandsman Taylor who sings the trio Latest Rag, and 1st class passenger (and card shark) J.H. Rogers. High energy and distinct characterizations required for this triple-cast role! Stage age 30s-50s, due to doubling • British, born in Yorkshire • Survived, in charge of lifeboat #2 • Doubles as Taylor & Rogers

CREW

Robert Hichens, Quartermaster, 29, was responsible for steering the ship, and carrying out the helm orders. He was at the wheel on that fateful night and obeyed the famous order “hard a’ starboard” which is the dramatic final tableau in Act 1. It is said that the next 37 seconds ruined his life. Although we won’t see this in the show, he was in charge of lifeboat #6 that carried “the Unsinkable” Molly Brown, who threatened to throw him overboard when he refused to row back and save others. This actor will also play bandsman Roger Bricoux who sings the trio Latest Rag, and a 3rd class passenger in Wake Up. Stage age 20s-40s • British, born in Cornwall • Survived, in charge of lifeboat #6 • Doubles as Bricoux & 3rd class in Wake Up.
  Joseph Bell, Chief Engineer, 50. A small speaking role, he has a slight argument with Barrett over executing orders to speed up. Tenor • stage age 30s-50s • East Midlands • Perished • Doubles as Wallace Hartley & 3rd class soloist in Ladies’ Maid.
  William Lindsay, stoker, 30, stokes the fires with Barrett in the boiler room. Stage age late teens-early 30s • Survived in lifeboat #3 • Doubles as Jim Farrell (large role in 3rd class)

SERVING STAFF

Henry Etches, Senior Steward, 41, was an experienced steward to first class passengers (something like a butler) who had served many of the same glitterati on the Olympic before reestablishing care for them aboard the Titanic. He sings the lead in Remarkable Age and has several scenes that underscore the smooth discretion he must exhibit, and the great pride he takes in his work, always remembering the likes, dislikes, and needs of his “people.” Some might call him stuffy, but he just really cares. His work is a vocation rather than a job, one that he continues even in the face of death. His scene with the Strausses at show’s end is incredibly moving. Tenor (B2-G4) • Stage age 40s-60s • British upperclass accent • Survived in lifeboat #5 • This actor doubles as 3rd class with a solo in the Opening & Ladies’ Maid.
  Andrew Latimer, steward, 55, serves under Etches, and does his best to meet the needs of his high-level passengers. It is through Latimer’s drastically different treatment of the 3 classes that we see the impact of social stratification on the Titanic. Must be a strong dancer and actor, due to multiple doublings. Stage age 20s-40s • From Liverpool • Perished • Doubles as the Stevedore (dockworker) in the Opening, Frank Carlson onshore, & professional dancer Mr. DaMico in Latest Rag.
  Stewardess Maud Slocombe, 30, serves under Mr. Etches, attending to 1st class. Stage age 16-30s • British • Survived in lifeboat #11 • Doubles as Barrett’s girlfriend Darlene onshore, professional dancer Mrs. DaMico in Latest Rag, and 3rd class in Ladies’ Maid & Wake Up.
  Stewardess Alice Pritchard, 33, serves under Mr. Etches, attending to 1st class (but in real life served in the Titanic’s Turkish bath.) Stage age 16-30s • British • Survived in lifeboat #11 • Doubles as Fleet’s wife Eva onshore, and 3rd class in Ladies’ Maid & Wake Up.
  Stewardess Anna Robinson, 40, serves under Mr. Etches, attending to 1st class. Sadly in later life she died by jumping off a ship that had stopped in fog, apparently in fear of another Titanic-like disaster. Stage age late 30s-50s • East Midlands • Survived in lifeboat #11 • Doubles as Bride’s mother Mary Ann onshore, and as a 3rd class maiden aunt in much of the show.
  Stewardess Bessie Lavington, 39, serves under Mr. Etches, attending to 1st class, and also serves as nanny to several children in Latest Rag. Stage age late 30s-50s • East Midlands • Survived in lifeboat #11 • Doubles as a 3rd class mother in much of the show. A good role for someone who likes kids!
  Bellboy W.A. Watson, 14, takes care of passenger needs, announces meals, and generally helps out the other serving staff. He urges Andrews to “make a go of it” when the ship is taking its final plunge. Stage age 13-15 • East Midlands • Perished • Doubles as 3rd class in Ladies’ Maid. We will consider girls AND boys for this role.
  Bellboy Edward (Clifford) Harris 16, takes care of passenger needs, announces meals, and generally helps out the other serving staff. He has a poignant moment with the Captain (Edward Smith) as the ship is sinking, wherein the captain sees a younger self in this namesake. Stage age 13-15 • East Midlands • Perished • Doubles as 3rd class in Ladies’ Maid. We will consider girls AND boys for this role.

TITANIC’S ENTERTAINMENT TEAM
(Considered 2nd class passengers, not staff)

THE BAND:
Wallace Hartley
(33), Roger Marie Bricoux (20), & Percy Cornelius Taylor (32), make up the band, with Hartley as leader. All take great pleasure in bringing joy to the passengers by setting the mood and providing skilled entertainment, so all thee need to be skilled entertainers! The Titanic’s orchestra has gone down in history for playing on the boat deck till the very end, to keep the other passengers calm. In the show, all three sing the one lively dance number in the show, Doing the Latest Rag. Hartley also sings the haunting Autumn in the 1st class smoke room at the end of act 1, and he in particular must be a confident showman who can hold a crowd in the palm of his hand. In an ideal world, all 3 actors cast in these roles would also know how to play stringed instruments (Hartley: piano & violin, Bricoux & Taylor: cello, or possibly violin/viola) as there are some gorgeous featured moments while playing the instruments. If we do not find musician/actors, then these actors will need to learn to fake it very precisely.
Hartley: Tenor • stage age 30s-50s • British • Perished • Doubles as Engineer Bell & 3rd class soloist in Ladies’ Maid.
Bricoux: stage age 20s-40s • French, from Monaco • Perished • Doubles as Quartermaster Hichens & 3rd class in Wake Up.
Taylor: stage age late 20s-40s • British, from London • Perished • Doubles as Officer Boxhall & card shark J.H. Rogers
  THE DANCERS:
Mr. & Mrs. DaMico
are the professional dancers on the ship, who will perform a stunning featured partner dance in Doing the Latest Rag (think lifts, think ballroom, think ragtime), and then teach the 1st class passengers how to join in. They must be graceful dancers, and exuberant personalities. Stage ages 20s-40s • Note: these names are not found on the real passenger list • Double as Steward Latimer & Stewardess Slocombe, among other roles (see SERVING STAFF descriptions above.)

CHARACTERS WHO STAY ONSHORE

Darlene, stage age 16-30s, is Barrett’s girlfriend, who marvels with him at the grandness of the ship onshore, and then waves him off on his journey. He is not her only suitor, but hopefully the favored one. This actress doubles as Stewardess Slocombe and other roles (see SERVING STAFF above.)
  Eva Fleet, stage age 16-30s, is a new bride with a babe-in-arms, come to say farewell to her new husband Frederick Fleet as he sets sail on the Titanic. Doubles as Stewardess Pritchard and other roles (see SERVING STAFF above.)
  Mary Ann Bride, 40s-50s, loving and attentive mother of Harold Bride, accompanies him to the boat dock to see him off. Doubles as Stewardess Robinson and other roles (see SERVING STAFF above.)
  Doctor: Inspects the 3rd class at boarding. Doubles as 1st class passenger John B. Thayer for the rest of the show.
  Frank Carlson, American tourist, hoping to travel home on the Titanic, but got a flat tire and missed the boat! His lament provides a much-needed moment of comic relief. This actor doubles as Stevedore, Latimer, and Mr. DaMico (see descriptions above.)

EACH CLASS IS A CHARACTER

Each class has a collective character. In general more is known about First Class because they represented a selection of the most famous names of the day. Less is known about the ordinary folks in Second & Third class, particularly about those who died. But an understanding of the classes on the whole is very possible. They shared distinct perspectives that define who they are and what they represent.

FIRST CLASS

 
1st class included every important American multimillionaire, except two (who booked passage but missed the sailing.) As a group they are the social elite, accustomed to lavish opulence and leisure, and they have a fascination with the newest, biggest, fastest, and most expensive. Their primary motivations are to ACQUIRE and perhaps more interestingly, to PROTECT; protect their family names, their fortunes, their way of life, their children’s marriage prospects, etc. In order to protect, they must keep the commoners in their place, showboat to demonstrate their status and keep up appearances, and conceal any personal truths that are painful, ugly, or scandalous.
Most of the first class passengers have featured introductions in the opening number, many have individual scenes, and all perform in:
  • The self-congratulatory What a Remarkable Age This Is
  • 3 nights of dinner conversations
  • The solemn Hymn at an on-ship service
  • The lively afternoon on-deck entertainment Latest Rag
  • Act 1 finale No Moon
  • The unsettling post-iceberg Wake Up and Dressed in your Pyjamas in the Grand Salon
  • And the entire cast participates in the heartbreaking To the Lifeboats through the Finale.
The Thayer Family was returning from a European trip on the Titanic to their home in Haverford, PA. Their parting when the lifeboats are boarded is one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the show, as John tries to stifle fear and calmly assures Marion and Pauline that he and Jack will be just fine. He did not survive, but Jack did, after quite an adventure in the water including a close call with one of the giant funnels falling near him.
  • John B. Thayer, 49, was Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Stage age 40s-50s • Perished • Doubles as the doctor onshore.
  • Marion Thayer, 39, from “old money.” Stage age 30s-40s • Survived in lifeboat #4.
  • Jack Thayer, 17. Stage age 15-18 • Survived atop collapsible B • Doubles as 3rd class in Ladies’ Maid.
  • Pauline Thayer, 10. Stage age 8-10 • Pauline was not actually on the Titanic with her family, but is quite featured in the show and Doubles as 3rd class in Ladies’ Maid.
The Strauses were returning from a trip to Europe on the Titanic. Perhaps one of the most poignant and enduring Titanic stories is that of Ida’s refusal to leave Isador on the ship, with the phrase “Where you go, I go.” They share an incredibly touching scene on the boat deck in act two after the decision is made and there’s no turning back, re-affirming their love through the soaring song Still. Strong singer/actors needed.
  • Isador Straus, 67, owned Macy’s Department Store. Bass/Baritone (F2-F4) • Stage age late 50s-70s • Jewish, from Bavaria • Perished • Doubles as 3rd class in Ladies’ Maid.
  • Ida Straus, 63, Alto (G3-D5) • Stage age late 50s-70s • Jewish, from Germany • Perished • Doubles as 3rd class in Ladies’ Maid.
The Astors, were returning to America to give birth to their first child after a honeymoon in Egypt, where they had been waiting out the gossip that followed their scandalous marriage. (J.J. was only recently divorced and remarriage was not common, plus Madeleine’s youth added to the buzz, and the fact that she was pregnant very quickly.) She is very much a naïve child still, while he is fiercely protective of social mores (i.e. arrogant.) Whether he is proud of her or embarrassed will be interesting for these actors to explore. J.J. came from one of the wealthiest families in the U.S.; his body was recovered from the sea with over $2440 cash in his pockets (more than $50,000 today.) He was rumored to have opened the Titanic’s kennels to give the dogs a fighting chance.
The Wideners were heirs to the largest fortune in Philadelphia, and spent their time on the ship in leisure.
  • George Widener, 50, came from money and made his own in the trolley business. Stage age 40s-50s • American • Perished
  • Eleanor Widener, 50, Stage age 35-50 • American • Survived in lifeboat #4.
  • (Note: Their son Harry, 27, was also on the ship, and died with his father, but is not in the show.)
 

Benjamin Guggenheim, 46, American mining and smelting tycoon, was a regular cross-Atlantic traveler, with a home (and mistress) in Paris. The mistress, Mme. Aubart, accompanied him on the Titanic. He reveals some guilt for his lifestyle, and an ability to be deeply self-reflective after the lifeboats have left the 1st class men on the ship. Stage age 40s-50s • American • Perished • Doubles as 3rd class with a solo in Ladies’ Maid.

Mme. Léontine “Ninette” Aubart, 24, was a singer in Paris and mistress to Benjamin Guggenheim. Stage age 20s • French • Survived in lifeboat #9

  Charlotte Drake Cardeza, 58, booked Titanic’s most expensive suite, and traveled with 14 trunks full of designer clothes, jewels, and 91 pairs of gloves, yet possessed an indomitable free spirit that is belied by those seemingly superficial trappings. A big game hunter, a yachtswoman who circumnavigated the world twice, a patron of the arts, and an independent woman who divorced her husband when she learned of his infidelity, Charlotte didn’t let anything stop her! Her unconventional ideas cause a near-clash with some of the 1st class men when she tries to bend the gendered traditions onboard, but her charm and charisma wins them over. Actress must be able to captivate a room with her infectious good spirits and joyful approach to life, while remaining classy and graceful. (i.e. She is not Molly Brown.) Stage age late 40s-50s • American, from Germantown, PA • Survived in lifeboat #3, and insisted that her son (not in the show) be allowed into a lifeboat as well.
  Edith Corse Evans, 36, a single woman, was returning to America alone on the Titanic from a family funeral in England. She became acquainted with Colonel Gracie (who may be the inspiration for our “Major” described next.) He offered her his services as a companion on the ship, and helped her find a lifeboat. Unfortunately there was only one spot left, and she convinced a new friend to take it, because the friend had children. Interested in geneology and other such studies, she had recently visited a fortune teller who told her to beware of the water. Stage age late 20s-30s • American, from NYC & Philadelphia • Perished • Doubles as Susan Webber (2nd class)
  The Major, age unknown. More than one Major sailed on the Titanic, but this one appears to be fictional. He frequently regales 1st class with his dramatic adventures abroad, providing comic relief in otherwise tense and controlled dining conversations through his tales of “crazed, godless savages.” This actor has 3 very different roles, so skilled physical characterization and accent work will be important. Stage age late 30s-late50s • British accent • Doubles as Officer Pitman and a 3rd class soloist (“constable”) in Ladies’ Maid.
  J.H. Rogers, age unknown, a gambler and card shark whose real name was Jay Yates. Smooth, unassuming, very comfortable in social situations. Before the sinking he writes a note to his sister to let her know he died on the ship, since he was registered under an assumed name in order to escape police detection. He was thought to have perished (and perishes in the show) but in real life he was later arrested in Maryland, thus it was discovered that the note was a hoax; Yates paid a woman to pose as a survivor and deliver the note to the newspaper, thereby faking his death. A con man through and through! Stage age 30s-40s • American • Doubles as bandsman Taylor & Officer Boxhall.

SECOND CLASS

 
2nd class was made up of merchants, professionals, and tourists. As a group they were largely socially ambitious, trying to brush up against the 1st class in the hopes that the golden magic would rub off. They are the most similar to most of us in America today: fascinated with fame, eager to acquire a little for themselves, hoping for the most and the best that they could achieve. Their primary motivation is to ASPIRE – whether to a better job, a better social standing, a better house, or a better new suit. However much they aspire though, they still know their place, and remain deferential to the 1st class. With the exception of Alice, they don’t outwardly fawn, they try to remain calm and collected on the surface, while inside they are brimming with excitement at the proximity of such celebrity.

Note that although second class characters are based on real passengers, their stories, ages, and fates are largely representations of common tales in the class as a whole, rather than specifically tied to a historic figure.

Except Alice, all second class passengers double as third and/or first class. As a group they are introduced in the opening number, individually most have scenes of their own, and perform in:

  • The Glinkas – where we learn more about the circumstances of the Beanes and the Clarkes
  • I Have Danced (Alice & Edgar only)
  • Act 1 finale No Moon
  • The unsettling post-iceberg Wake Up
  • Dressed in your Pyjamas in the Grand Salon
  • The heartbreaking To the Lifeboats through the Finale.
The Beanes are returning from a vacation on the Titanic. Edgar owns a hardware store in the Midwest, and Alice is a homemaker who wishes she was a socialite, and finally has the chance to approximate one on the Titanic! She gleefully shares the latest gossip about each and every millionaire on the ship, and hones in on their every private space and private occasion as an area or event to crash, with sheer delight. This is the life she desperately wants, and she can’t understand why Edgar doesn’t have the same aspirations. He desires to please her, and works hard to satisfy her many wishes and desires, but is confused, hurt, and a little lost when it isn’t enough. They love each other deeply, and if she could just relax into the comfort of the life he has created for them, he could happily enjoy her company indefinitely. The grief of accepting the reality of their circumstances is deep for them both. These characters are loosely based on Edward & Ethel Beane, 2nd class passengers on the Titanic.
  • Edgar Beane is goodhearted, often exasperated, has a dry wit, and is not worried about impressing anyone • Bari/Bass (G2-D4) • Stage age mid 40s-early 60s • American • Perished. • Doubles as 3rd class in Ladies’ Maid.
  • Alice Beane is a tricky role: comedy wrapped in truth. It requires an actress who can make us laugh by revealing the depths of Alice’s heart, rather than by playing her for comedy. She is like a child playing dress-up; the reality seems absurd but the fantasy is earnest. Also her litany of 1st class gossip in the opening number is a singer’s challenge • Mezzo (G2-D4) • Stage age mid 40s-50s • American • Survived
The Clarkes are not actually married (yet) but are travelling as a married couple on the Titanic to save money (plus, it’s fun to be secretly naughty!) Caroline is classy and kind - actually born to first class, but eloping to America with her love; she wants nothing more than to be with him, and is more than willing to sacrifice status for love. Charles aspires to be a journalist in New York City, and has every reason to believe he can succeed. They are happily in love, with bright futures ahead. Their near-operatic parting is the dramatic climax of To the Lifeboats and never fails to rip out the hearts of audience members. These characters are loosely based on Charles and Ada Marie Clarke, 2nd class passengers on the Titanic.
  • Charles ClarkeTenor (B2-F#4) • Stage age late 20s-mid 30s • British • Perished • Doubles as 3rd class Italian duet in Ladies’ Maid & 1st class dancer in Latest Rag
  • Caroline NevilleStage age late 20s-mid 30s • British • Survived • Doubles as 3rd class Italian duet in Ladies’ Maid & 1st class dancer in Latest Rag
  Miss Susan Webber, 37, was alone on the Titanic, emigrating from England to Connecticut to live with her nephew and his wife as their housekeeper. In other words, this trip reflected defeat – she was officially an old maid who needed to rely on family to care for her financial needs. We do not get to know her story in the show, but she participates in the same scenes as the Beanes and Clarkes above and has a significant doubled role. Stage age late 20s-30s • British, from Cornwall • Perished • Doubles as Edith Corse Evans (1st class)
  The Band, Wallace Hartley, Percy Taylor, and Roger Bricoux were officially on board as 2nd class passengers, but you will find their descriptions in the “Entertainment Staff” section of the Crew listings.

THIRD CLASS

 
3rd class or “steerage” was made up of European emigrants leaving the old world for the new, fleeing poverty and hopelessness in search of the opportunity for a better life. As a group their primary motivation is to BETTER themselves – but not just for the sake of feeling important or accomplished like the 2nd class, but to ensure the SURVIVAL of their families, their children, and themselves. They dream big and are extremely brave (or desperate) to leave a whole life behind in search of a new one in a foreign land. They are deferential to crew and to both classes above them, and are used to being told what to do. For many, this is the first time they have ever been idle for several days straight, and the accommodations and food on board are extremely high quality compared to what they are used to. In the show they represent dreams, and largely the sadness of dreams that will never come to fruition: lost potential.
Note that although third class characters are based on real passengers, very little is known about these individuals. So the stories, ages, and fates of our characters are largely representations of common tales in the class as a whole.

Third class passengers are introduced in the opening number, and perform in:

  • The dream-filled Ladies’ Maid led by the 3 Kates
  • The Act 1 Finale (where Kate McG and Jim get engaged)
  • The unsettling Wake Up where they are pulled from their beds
  • A song/scene that’s not on the Broadway album where the 3 Kates & Jim are trapped below decks trying to find a way up to the lifeboats
  • The heartbreaking To the Lifeboats through the Finale.
  Kate McGowen: Although there was a Kate McGowan who perished on the Titanic, this Kate’s story is based instead on Kate Gilnagh, who did actually know Mullins, Murphey, and Farrell, and who survived. 17 years old, Kate is escaping a big mistake made in Ireland by boarding the Titanic for America. Single, she is pregnant (although not yet showing) with the child of a married man. Not one to expend much energy on shame or despair, she is simply driven: this is a predicament she must solve – she needs a husband, and fast! She spots Jim Farrell at the dock and manages to secure an engagement in less than 4 days – a testament to her charm, her positive spirit, and her forthright, assertive approach! Kate is an indomitable spirit who knows what she wants and how to get it. She sings the lead in Ladies’ Maid and has several other solo sections. Requires a powerful actress who can command our attention whether cheerful, distressed, or quietly introspective. Soprano/Mezzo (A3-F#5) • Stage age early-mid 20s • Strong Irish accent • Survived
  Kate Mullins, 21, was a young Irish lass (one of 8 children) traveling on the Titanic to a new life in America where she intended to live with her sister and become a maid. In the show she is the most frightened of the Kates, overwhelmed by the scope of everything she sees, and grateful for the comfort and care of her traveling companions. She sings solos in Ladies’ Maid, and several other moments. Alto • Stage age mid teens-early 20s • Strong Irish accent • Survived in real life, perishes in the show.
  Kate Murphey, 18, was one of thirteen children in Ireland. With a sickly mother she was forced to grow up early, and dealt with a forceful and overbearing older brother. She was secretly running away from his rule by boarding the Titanic! Although we do not hear the details of her story in the show, it underlies her tough, no-nonsense character. She wants to be self-sufficient and has always been independent. She sings solos in Ladies’ Maid, and several other moments. Alto • Stage age mid 20s-early 30s •Strong Irish accent • Survived in real life, perishes in the show.
  Jim Farrell, 26, is the love interest of Kate McGowen, and can’t help but be amused by (and eventually fall for) this confident and self-assured beauty. He’s not a pushover, he’s just charmed and knows a good thing when he sees it! He has a pleasant boyish charm of his own that turns manly when circumstances demand it. In real life Jim saved several 3rd class women, by shaming a crewman who was keeping them locked below decks, and eventually breaking down the gate. He solos in the trapped-in-stairwell scene/song and the Act 1 Finale. Baritone (B2-F#4) • Stage age 17-30 • Strong Irish accent • Perished in real life. Survives in the show. • Doubles as the other stoker in Barrett’s song.
  3rd class children 2-4 children ages will be cast as 3rd class children. We are not specifying genders – casting will be based on expressiveness in the audition and the fit with adults who are cast (i.e. we may create an Irish looking family, or a Swedish looking family, or an Italian looking family). Children will double as first class children in The Latest Rag and perform as 3rd class in the rest of the show. Note, children’s characters will perish in the show so it’s important that families are ready to deal with that kind of material, and the fears or questions it might raise.
 
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