Hollywood Hits the High Seas

| Thursday, 17 Jan. 2013

Susan Griffiths as Marilyn Monroe

It's Award Season (in capital letters) in Los Angeles. Golden Globes are over, but the Screen Actors and other such guilds soon hand out theirs, and the Oscars loom next month. In La-La Land, signs are unavoidable. Actresses nibbling lettuce leaves (gotta squeeze into 00 gowns); actors making new BFFs with facialists. You can almost smell the Botox in the air. Swept up in the excitement of the Season, I can only grin at the news of Crystal Symphony's Film & Theatre voyage, setting sail from New York to Miami on November 2, 2013.

The ultra-luxury line is presenting this cruise in partnership with the Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles, a most distinguished organization, indeed. The marquis showcases Old Hollywood glam and theatre, featuring more than a dozen performers and industry speakers.

Tribute artist Susan Griffiths heads to the sea for the first time to channel Marilyn. Yes, that Marilyn. Her live cabaret show is created just for Crystal Cruises and is entitled "Marilyn - Memories, Music and Magic."

Other noteworthy performers include Jim Brochu, doing a tribute entitled "Character Man," which pays homage to Jackie Gleason, Zero Mostel and other Broadway legends. LA's Troubador Theatre Company is performing multiple commedia dell'arte productions onboard. One is a satirical Shakespeare-meets-cinema-disco musical theatre performance of "Midsummer Saturday Night's Fever Dream." Now that's the true definition of a mash-up.

Actress Kate Burton is giving a presentation that should be a highlight. She's the daughter of the iconic actor Richard Burton (stage, film and a husband of Liz Taylor) and plays the current U.S. vice-president on the hit ABC television program "Scandal." I'd love to meet her but I'd probably just ask about her fascinating father - which would probably annoy her and she'd still have to smile.

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And since this is Crystal Cruises, there are gobs more to this themed sail. A dedicated in-stateroom television channel will broadcast classic movies, theatre documentaries and theme presenter insights. Interactive trivia games will allow guests to test their entertainment knowledge.

There will even be Red Carpet beauty tips. Noted make-up artist William Squire is going to present celebrity secrets. Squire will show how guests can look better for everyday living as well as for onboard photo ops. He will also reveal how Marilyn hid flaws and enhanced her beauty to create her signature style. That should be really revealing, considering those were pre-injection and pre-sophisticated plastic surgery days.

Would you like to see original costumes from some of Hollywood's greatest films? They'll be showcased in a special musical theatre production starring Broadway veterans. And you gotta love this; Turner Classic Movies film historian Jeremy Arnold will also be onboard. He will provide behind-the-scenes commentary to movie marathons of classic (including Marilyn's) and recent films in the revamped Hollywood Theatre (one of my fave redos onboard).

Since Crystal is a foodie cruise line, Symphony will feature "Dinner with Marilyn," an intimate multi-course dinner paired with fine wines in the swank Vintage Room. Who's hosting? Why, "Marilyn", of course. Griffiths plus Marilyn fan club president Greg Schreiner will share tales of Tinseltown and the star's life.

With so much scheduled for film and theatre buffs onboard, it almost seems unnecessary to point out where the ship is going. Ports include Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville (maiden call), Turks & Caicos, Curacao and Aruba. (crystalcruises.com)

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