Although stage shows are not the primary reason people take a luxury cruise, it's nice when the high caliber talent and stagecraft come as a surprise. That's the reason luxury cruise line Silversea just put all new showtime productions on its ships from solidly proven showtime producer Suzanne Childers.
You may know Suzanne from her creation of the AquaTheater shows on Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Allure of the Seas. Those shows required a lot of specialized acrobatic prowess, but that isn't all that Suzanne can do. Suzie is a relative newcomer to ships, but her name is well-known in entertainment circles. Perhaps her biggest bragging point is her connection to top show business talent, much of it incorporated into these new Silversea shows.
It begins with 24 brand new singers – each chosen for their ability to handle a stage solo; each one with his or her own cabaret show, but also the ability to sight read music and blend with other singers and dancers.
Auditions were held in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Guiding them were the shows' creators; Michael Brennan, music director for Lion King on Broadway among other works, Jim Belk (an arranger for the infamous music producer David Foster) and director Christopher Childers; who also did La Reve, the main stage show at The Wynn in Las Vegas as well as several Cirque du Soleil productions.
The 24 singers were made into groups of six according to their individual ability to fulfill each part. Suzie and team then spent four solid months rehearsing brand new scripts with musical scores recorded by some of the best players in the world. Now they are finally aboard four of the Silversea ships and already breaking records for showtime attendance records and response ratings on the cruise line.
All of this was instigated by new Entertainment Director for Silversea Cruises, Cliff Perry. Cliff is well-known in the industry – his most recent duties were with Disney Cruise Line, preceded by Royal Viking Line, another very respectable pedigree, especially for cruise ship entertainment. Cliff replaced another well-known ship producer at Silversea; Jean Ann Ryan.
There are three all new shows onboard each ship – each with a vastly different theme.
"High C's" is based on greatest hits of the classic opera variety; it includes Nessun Dorma from the Paganini classic, Turandot, Habanera from Carmen (Bizet), probably the most famous of all French operas, and Largo al Factotum from Barber of Seville. But the "hit" will most likely be "Conte Portiro," first sung by Andrea Bocelli at the 1995 Sanremo Festival and recorded on his album of the same year, Bocelli.
Fabbulicious is the show dedicated to the singalong hits of Abba, such as made the movie Mama Mia so popular. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is the homage to the great hits of the '50s, '60s and '70s put out by Motown.
Putting the Shows Onboard
Anyone who thinks putting shows like this together is easy has a lot to learn about the perfectionism of Soozi Childers and her team. After extensive auditions in three cities, they assembled all 24 singers in one city to test their mettle. Each singer was thoroughly evaluated for range and style. Then the six-person teams were assembled.
But they didn't just assign each role the same songs in each team. In some cases it made more sense to switch things around, so every team became an individual effort. Rehearsals of the new "Artists of Silversea" went on for four solid months before they were ready.
Suzie also had to find costumes for each of the performers, but rather than sew bangles onto cheap materials, as so many shows do – she chose to put them all in classic formal well, buying suits and gowns at Neiman Marcus. The only exception is the opera show which includes costumes in the style of Venetian Carnivale.
Then each team was flown to a different ship, one at a time, and the shows with new lighting, stage sets and blocking were put onboard. Silversea upgraded the stage sound and lighting systems on each of its ships to accommodate. They debuted on the four ships as follows:
Â· Silver Cloud on October 24 Â· Silver Whisper on November 8 Â· Silver Wind on November 11 Â· Silver Shadow on November 27
For aspiring artists, the cast for the biggest ship of all, Silver Spirit, is casting now, and if you would like a chance at ship stardom, visit choozientertainment.com for more information.
Every performer will also perform an individual cabaret show onboard, which you must have ready before you audition. These shows are not for beginners, only seasoned performers are invited to apply.