- The Titanic’s maiden voyage may have ended tragically, but
Port Washington native Geoff Karnish is confident his initial
foray with a national touring theater company won’t endure a
and 25 other cast members will bring the Tony Award-winning
“Titanic: The Musical” to the Milwaukee Theatre on Friday and
will be Karnish’s first time performing on a stage where, as a
high school student, he watched many other touring companies
wonderful to perform in my hometown, but it’s particularly
thrilling to perform on the same stage where I watched others
perform.I will be on the stage where I watched people doing what I
knew I wanted to do,” Karnish said.
his fate as an actor was set well before high school. Karnish, 26,
accompanied his mother and grandmother to Chicago to see a
national tour of “Showboat” when he was 4.
was totally mesmerized the whole time,” he said. “Prior to
that day, I didn’t know you could make a living by being an
actor. I had no idea this wonderful art form existed. But from
that day, I knew this is what I need to do with my life and I’ve
stuck with it.”
graduation from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a
degree in musical theater, Karnish took advice from “some very
wise people.” He followed a suggestion to get performance
experience and build a rˇsumˇ by doing regional theater before
heading to New York City. It led to stints at the Northern Stars
Playhouse in Hazelhurst, Broadway Dinner Theater in Lake
Delton and The Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson, as well as in
Cincinnati and Alaska.
moving to New York City has always been one of Karnish’s dreams.
Last year, he decided the time was right to act on it.
decided that if I wanted to move to the next step of my career, I
needed to move to New York and start auditioning for larger
theaters,” he said.
hasn’t been easy. Most days Karnish went to three open-call
auditions before heading to a night job as a waiter.
that might changed after getting cast this summer in “Titanic:
The Musical,” which launched in late September and runs through
I got ‘Titanic,’ it was very rewarding,” he said. “It felt
like all of my hard work paid off.”
plays Lt. William McMaster Murdoch, a Scottish sailor who was
first officer aboard the RMS Titanic. Murdoch was the officer in
charge on the bridge when the Titanic collided with an iceberg in
theAtlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912. More than 1,500 people died
when the oceanliner sank.
show is not based on the blockbuster “Titanic” movie and tells
a more historic account of the ill-fated voyage, Karnish said.
is a very emotional show,” he said. “We are trying to tell the
story of the people aboard the Titanic, to let people know that we
won’t forget what happened.”
experience is one Karnish won’t soon forget. Getting subsequent
jobs should be a little easier with a national tour on the resume,
he said, and eventually he would like to land a role on Broadway.
now though, being on tour with “Titanic” is a dream come true.
am so lucky to be able do what I love,” he said. “This is what
I was meant to do. For me, there is nothing else.”
“Titanic: The Musical”
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Milwaukee Theatre, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee