A cruise is a great place to see a Broadway show. Norwegian offers a top-notch version of After Midnight, while Royal Caribbean prides itself on its full-length, and possibly better-than-Broadway-caliber production of Mamma Mia. The luxury cruise lines, however, haven’t gotten on the Broadway bandwagon as quickly. They all offer shows with singing and dancing that mimic the style of a big Broadway production, but you won’t typically find shows that have transferred directly from the Great White Way on luxury ships. Only Seabourn, with its review of songs by lyricist Tim Rice, has embraced the idea of Broadway at sea. Actors and singers with actual Broadway credits — beyond special themed sailings — are also harder to find onboard.
A new partnership between Crystal Cruises and Broadway producer Kevin McCollum, however, brings a new Broadway offering to luxury cruising. McCollum, who has won Tony Awards for producing Rent, Avenue Q, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-Hamilton success In the Heights, will work with the cruise line to develop new shows, and will even sometimes appear onboard himself. Crystal Cruises CEO Edie Rodriguez spoke about the program in NYC along with McCollum last week onboard the Crystal Symphony, along with Broadway actress Rachel York and a full band.
McCollum spoke of developing original shows for Crystal’s ships, some of which may be in the popular revue format, which features songs from different Broadway shows wrapped into a single evening of entertainment. Another feature, which can’t be found on any other cruise line, will feature McCollum himself discussing what it’s like to be the pioneering producer behind some of Broadway’s biggest hits. These Q&As and lectures will also include Broadway actors, designers, choreographers, and other pros, and will give cruisers a sense of the behind-the-scenes process that’s required to get a show from its earliest development phase to Broadway.
The Broadway program will be available on Crystal’s ocean ships, Crystal and Serenity. They’re already featured on select Symphony voyages, and will begin on Serenity in September.