On a recent Tuesday night at the Daryl Roth Theater in Union Square, temperatures outside hovered in the mid-30s, but inside, a few hundred 30-somethings in sailor hats were sipping “Iceberg” cocktails and grooving to “ Juice” by Lizzo. A heart of shimmering silver and blue garlands hung above the stage like a disco ball.
And then: The woman they were waiting for arrived.
“It’s me, Celine Dion,” said Marla Mindelle, one of the writers and stars of the “Titanic” musical parody, “Titanique,” as she tossed aside a black trash bag cape to reveal a shimmering gold dress – a nod to the witch. entrance to “Into the Woods” – and making their way to the stage to a tidal wave of applause.
The sold-out crowd of 270, who sported tight green sequined dresses, black leather jackets and bright pink sunglasses, had gathered for a special performance commemorating the 25th anniversary of the hit 1997 film, on success of Dion’s catalog. Since opening in the 150-seat basement of Asylum NYC in Chelsea in June, thanks to word of mouth and a passionate social media following, the show has always sold out.
“The movie and Celine are always on point,” said Constantine Rousouli, who plays “Titanic’s” romantic male lead, Jack, and created the show with Mindelle and Tye Blue, who also directs.
The show has won praise for its campy tone, off-the-cuff moments and energetic cast, and cultivated an army of “TiStaniques” fans, some of whom have seen the 100-minute show more than a dozen times.
“It’s filled with so much joy and heart and silly fun,” said Ryan Bloomquist, 30, who works in Broadway marketing and has seen the show five times.
The unsinkable Celine Dion
The Canadian superstar won fans over with his octave-hopping renditions of songs like “Because You Loved Me” and “My Heart Will Go On.”
- Diagnosis of rare disorder: Celine Dion has announced that she suffers from a neurological condition known as stiff-person syndrome, which forced her to cancel and reschedule her scheduled 2023 tour dates.
- The love of Quebec will continue: The extraordinary outpouring in Quebec that greeted Dion’s announcement showed how his fandom and ideas of national identity in his home province have evolved.
- An accomplished professional: At a concert in Brooklyn in 2020, the pop diva had her glorious voice in full command — and the crowd gathered to bask in it.
- Loved by fans: Dion can count on some of the most loyal supporters in the industry. In return, she gives herself entirely to them.
Partially improvised and best enjoyed with a drink in hand, “Titanic,” which tells the story of “Titanic” from Dion’s perspective and through his music, began life as one would expect: when of a drunken discussion between Mindelle, 38, (Broadway’s “Sister Act” and “Cinderella by Rodgers & Hammerstein”) and Rousouli (“Wicked,” “Hairspray”), 34, at a Los Angeles bar in 2016.
Rousouli and Mindelle, another “Titanic” fan, had become friends doing dinner parties and pop parody musicals in Los Angeles. And now Rousouli had an idea: what if they made a parody musical “Titanic” – using Dion’s songs – and cast the Canadian singer herself as a character on the show?