Constantine Rousouli and Carrie St. Louis Bring New Life to Jack and Rose in ‘Titanique’
It’s easy to fall in love with a campy musical and find joy in the happiness it brings you. That’s why shows like Titanique bring audiences together and keep you engaged in the beauty of it. Going to see the show for us here at The Mary Sue, I was floored by how much I loved it but then again, I’m a product of the 90s and we 90s kids have a deep love for the James Cameron movie Titanic. It felt like a theatre kid’s dream of a show and in talking with Constantine Rousouli, who plays Jack and also co-wrote the show, and Carrie St. Louis, who plays Rose, it’s clear to see that this show is a love letter to musicals, the world of Titanic, and Celine Dion.
The idea was formed in a bar, according to Rousouli, so to see fans come back week after week is exciting. (I did note to him that I also wanted to go back again and again.) “It’s honestly a dream come true to be honest,” he said. “I mean when we first wrote this thing seven years ago, you know, I came up with the idea in a bar. So it was just me wasted with my best friends, Marla (Mindelle) and this other girl who played Rose at the time, Alex Ellis. And we were just doing these parody musicals in LA and you know, trying to just pass the time and we surely did this for fun. So to see how that has translated to lke a commercial theater of all of our weird inside niche jokes that we throw in and it’s wild. It’s wild to see it come to life. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. People wanna laugh right now. So I think that’s why people keep coming back because it’s pure joy. It’s not, you know, a history lesson in theater or it’s not telling you how to feel. It’s basically come in, laugh your ass off and remember this iconic movie and how we’ve kind of turned it on its head. So I think that’s why people love it so much.”
What was great in talking with Rousouli is that he had nothing but love for his cast. He spoke highly of Marla Mindelle, who plays Celine Dion and is brilliant in the role as well as talking about Rosé (who played Victor Garber when I saw the show). The drag queen Rosé was one of my favorites on her season of RuPaul’s Drag Race so I was surprised to see Rosé take on the Titanic. But for Rousouli, he loves the friendship that he made with Rosé (who’s name out of drag is Ross Matthew McCorkell).
“Ross is incredible,” he said. “He is the nicest human of life. He’s sits right next to me in the dressing room and we laugh probably from the second we get to the theater until we leave. He’s become one of my best friends. I love him so much and just such a talent. And to see when he came to the theater and as Rosé one day for press and all of us were completely starstruck even though we’d been doing the show with him for like three months. I was like, ‘I haven’t seen you as Rosé yet. I’m gonna die.’ It’s just wild. He’s amazing and we’re so lucky to have him and yeah, it’s a good group of people.”
Rose’s heart will go on
In the world of Titanique, Rose DeWitt Bukater is a straight man. Meaning that out of the comedy scenes, Rose is the one who is trying to be the voice of reason. Sometimes, that’s not the most fun to play. Luckily, Titanique has Carrie St. Louis playing her and bringing such a level of wit and charm to Rose that you love her. And for St. Louis, that was the fun aspect of her. I asked her about playing the straight man and making her still fun and interesting in a show filled with characters going off the rails.
“I love this question,” she said. “I feel like lately I’ve been saying in interviews Rose is the straight man of the show and people are like, wait, really? Because we’re all technically clowns in this production. But I think what I’ve found with it is that the more earnest I am about Rose, the more that I am like she is doing what she believes to be true. I’m always the kind of the butt of the joke but I think it’s even funnier when she’s so earnest and so you want to love Rose or at least I hope that you want to love Rose.”
And you do want to love Rose and St. Louis went on to talk about how she makes her charming to counteract her “straight man” ways. “I try to make her as charming and fun as possible. And I also think this show is just a group of incredible actors and we’re all doing comedy in a very stylized way. So a lot of what I see Rose as in the show is I set up a lot of the jokes for a lot of the characters. I’m kind of the one passing the ball constantly, which is a really fun spot to be in because I’m involved in everything literally that never leaves the stage.”
And we’re better for it. The show as a whole is just so much fun, to the point where I constantly want to go back to the show and see it again and again. Even if I did learn in my chat that “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” was originally in the show but Bat Out of Hell made it so Titanique couldn’t use it anymore. At least I know that Rousouli was on my side with that song.
If you have the chance to see Titanique, do it. You won’t regret it.
(featured image: NBC)
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