The Life and Mystery of First Officer William Murdoch
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Musical Data

Country: United States
Music/lyrics: Maury Yeston
Book: Peter Stone
Release: Broadway, 1997
Original Cast: Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark, and Brian d'Arcy James

Plot: Titanic is a musical with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone that opened on Broadway in 1997. It won five Tony Awards including the award for Best Musical. It is set on the ocean liner RMS Titanic which sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

Trivia: Titanic the Musical previews began at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1997 with major technical troubles: ironically, during previews the model ship onstage would not sink.

Titanic the Musical (1997)
David Costabile

David Costabile,
who played Murdoch

Titanic - a musical version of the maritime legend - was released on Broadway in 1997, and despite concerns over subject matter and a luke warm critical response, it emerged as the hit of the 1997 season, winning five Tony awards including Best Set, Best Book and Best Musical. As a musical, it takes a great liberty with historical accuracy. The role of Murdoch was first played by David Costabile, although others followed in his footsteps as the musical continued to be shown. The role of Murdoch includes an interesting –though entirely fictional- scene entitled “To Be A Captain” that takes place on the bridge prior to the collision:

Captain: If I remember correctly, Mr. Murdoch, you qualified for your Master’s papers when you were only 25--youngest man in the line’s history. And here you are, STILL without a ship of your own. What are you waiting for?
Murdoch: A ship’s master carries a heavy responsibility, Captain.
Captain: Every single minute, Mr. Murdoch.
Murdoch: I’m just not certain I’m up to it, sir.
Captain: A ship’s master must be certain of everything--even when he’s not. And I’m as certain of that as I am that this is my final crossing.
Murdoch: Captain?
Captain: After 43 years of service, I informed the line of my wish to retire, but they asked me on to stay on to see them through the maiden voyage. My wife was disappointed, but how could I refuse? (They laugh. Pause) Take over, Mr. Murdoch.

(Cue music--hymn-like)
Murdoch: (sings) Thousands on board, each in his class
You are the master of all that must pass
Yours to set course
Yours to command
You hold their souls in the palm of your hand.
You hold their souls in the palm of your hand.

Left to Right: Captain EJ Smith (John Cunningham), Third Officer Herbert J. Pitman (Matthew Bennett), Second Officer Charles Lightoller (John Bolton), Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall (Sean McCourt), Quartermaster Robert Hichens (Adam Alexi-Malle), and First Officer William Murdoch (David Costabile).