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"Titanic: The Musical" runs Oct. 12-13 at the Milwaukee Theatre.
"Titanic: The Musical" runs Oct. 12-13 at the Milwaukee Theatre.

"Titanic: The Musical" to dock in Milwaukee

"Titanic: The Musical," the winner of five Tony awards including Best Musical, is coming for the first time ever to Milwaukee, Oct. 12-13 at the Milwaukee Theatre.

One of the leads in the newly-formed national touring Broadway cast, Geoffrey Karnish, grew up in the Milwaukee area. Karnish, who grew up in the town of Port Washington, graduated from Port Washington High School in 2004 and took part in numerous community theater productions.

A graduate of UW-LaCrosse, Karnish has performed in Wisconsin at The Fireside Theatre, Northern Lights Playhouse and The Broadway Dinner Theatre in The Dells.

Recently, caught up with Karnish and asked him a few questions. What role do you play in "Titanic: The Musical?"

Geoffrey Karnish: I play First Officer Murdock, the officer who was in charge the night the Titanic hit the iceberg. It was his fault for making the call that ultimately sunk it. After it hit the iceberg, he was in charge of loading the lifeboats, but he went down with the ship.

OMC: Wow, that's an intense role. Is this one of the more emotionally-intense roles you've played?

GK: Yes, definitely. A lot of the shows I've been doing – a lot of the popular professional shows – are lighter, like "Annie" and "High School Musical." It's really a treat to do something with as much emotional depth as "Titanic." But shows always get very personal for me, no matter what role I play.

OMC: How similar is this stage performance to the film?

GK: It's a completely different story. This version actually came out on Broadway before the movie did. There are completely different characters and it's a lot more historical. It doesn't follow one or two characters, rather first-class, second-class and third-class passengers as well as the crew.

OMC: What is the strength of the show?

GK: The music is so well written you can't help but get into it. The score is really beautiful. It's epic. A lot of musical theater has turned toward pop or rock, so it's really fun to sing such classical, beautiful music.

OMC: How long are you touring with this show and what's next for you?

GK: I'm touring with the show until the end of November, and then I hope to do more modeling and commercial work.

OMC: You were born and raised in Port Washington, but did you make it to Milwaukee very often?

GK: Yes, I used to go and see all of the touring musicals that came through Milwaukee. As soon as I got my license, it was one of the first things I did. I went to the Marcus Center, the Milwaukee Theatre, The Rep. I really loved going to those places and I had a dream that maybe someday I could be in a show that performed there. This makes it especially great that I'm coming through next week.


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