1. Favourite Song i.t.o. Lyrics
“There She Is”: What I love about this lyric is how it manages to create an image of the ship through words. It’s more than just the choice of words though; it’s about the the choice of words with specific vowel and consonant sounds that help to establish not only the size of the ship but also the feeling of seeing it, without anyone actually seeing it at all. This short piece in the mammoth opening sequence is more effective than any of the establishing shots of the same ship in a certain film that premiered around the same time as this show….
2. Favourite Song i.t.o. Tracks on the OBCR
“Hymn/The Latest Rag:The build in this number is invigorating; the contrast between the hymn and the rag is so much fun; and the counterpoint in the later section of the rag is thrilling.
3. Favourite Song i.t.o. Character Definition
“The Proposal/The Night Was Alive”: While the former section further extends the character of Barret, the latter section draws such a vivid picture of Harold Bride that he becomes one of the most memorable characters in the show.
4. Favourite Song i.t.o. Marriage of Lyric to Music
“No Moon”: I think this song captures the contradictory restless-calm mood of the sequence in which it appears perfectly.
5. Favourite Song i.t.o. Music
“The Collision”: I love how such an understated piece of music communicates such a monumental moment in the narrative. The effect is chilling.
6. Favourite Song i.t.o. Scene Structure
The “To the Lifeboats” sequence from “Getting in the Lifeboat” through “We’ll Meet Tomorrow”: I love how this zooms in and out of the chorus and from character to character, bringing to the fore some of the musical themes from earlier in the show and ending in a unified anthem that makes everyone on the ship equal, at least in terms of the experience in the midst of which they are all caught.
That’s about as close as I am going to get to choosing a favourite song in this show! These days, I find myself returning to my cast album of the stage score -snippets of which you can hear in the playlist below – rather than the film. It’s a moving piece of musical theatre, from the opening sequence to the haunting contra-punctual duet mentioned above “The Proposal/The Night Was Alive”, from the exquisitely structured sequence at the end of the first act (where the ship hits the iceberg) to the chilling lifeboat sequence that climaxes with the stirring anthem, “We’ll Meet Tomorrow”. And any of these is many times better than “My Heart Will Go On”…