SEOUL TITANIC POSSIBLY HEADED FOR BROADWAY

Directed by Eric Schaeffer, TITANIC opened on Nov. 10 at the Charlotte Theater in Seoul with a landmark set designed by Paul de Poo. Produced by Chun Soo Shin and OD Productions, this is a completely rethought physical production based on Schaeffer's Signature Theater production early in 2017, with brilliant new orchestrations for 17 players, and costumes in addition to the set.

“Titanic,” it seems, is still out there, on a wave-making journey. A South Korean producer, Chun soo Shin, announced Friday his intention to bring a revival of Maury Yeston and the late Peter Stone’s Tony-winning 1997 musical to Broadway. It’s a production that debuted to admiring notices last winter at Arlington’s Signature Theatre and was recast and restaged in the fall for a Korean-language version in Seoul.

Although a major Broadway publicist, Boneau Bryan-Brown, has been attached, a timeline for Broadway remains unclear; only when a show has a solid commitment from one of the landlords of Broadway’s 40-odd theaters is a plan reliably on track. Still, the idea of another Signature-bred production going to Broadway would be a mark of achievement for Signature and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, who directed both the Arlington and Seoul versions of the revival.

“It’s been 20 years since this great musical had its maiden voyage, and now the OD Company is committed to relaunching its return to Broadway as soon as possible,” said Shin, who is chief executive of OD and has been listed as a producer on seven previous Broadway shows, including the short-lived musical “Chaplin” in 2012 and, more recently, the musicals “Rocky,” “Holler If Ya Hear Me” and “Doctor Zhivago.” None of these were hits.

Perhaps “Titanic” will be a lucky Broadway charm for both Shin and Schaeffer, who was last represented on Broadway with a revival of the musical “Gigi” that started at the Kennedy Center and had an abbreviated Broadway run, starring Vanessa Hudgens, in 2015. He had more favorable results with a revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s “Follies” that featured Bernadette Peters and Jan Maxwell in 2011, but a small original musical that started at Signature and also was directed by Schaeffer, “Glory Days,” closed on opening night on Broadway in 2008.

Shin and Schaeffer first worked together in the summer of 2013 at Signature on a workshop production of “Spin,” an English-language show based on a 2008 hit Korean film, whose title translated roughly as “Speedy Scandal.” They had been looking for other projects together when Schaeffer’s hit revival of “Titanic” — whose score remains a favorite among die-hard musical theater lovers — attracted the producer’s attention. Shin recruited a Korean cast and brought to Seoul from Signature Schaeffer, choreographer Matthew Gardiner and designer Paul Tate dePoo III, who had developed an innovative concept for the set, a series of gangplank-like catwalks that crisscrossed the entire auditorium. The Seoul production opened last month to sterling reviews, and runs there until Feb. 9.

Schaeffer, who is now conducting a two-week workshop at Signature of a new musical, “Blackbeard,” by Dana P. Rowe and John Dempsey, with Marc Kudisch in the starring role, said Shin began to talk of a Broadway life for “Titanic” after he saw it during its Arlington run. “He was moved to tears by it, even in the English language version,” Schaeffer said. DePoo’s design, he added, would be a linchpin of the envisioned Broadway run — the set will be shipped back from Seoul — and the New York production would revert to its original English and be cast with English-speaking actors. (Peter Marks, Washington Post)