When I learned I would have the opportunity to see opening night of CATS at the Pantages Theatre I couldn’t help but squeal. Having never seen the play/production before and not even really knowing much about the story-line I was excited to experience something new. Mom was happy to be asked to join me (she’s my favorite date), and we both dressed up for the occasion.
When I tell about a play or a movie I usually do a bit of a comparison/contrast commentary. I won’t be doing that while telling about CATS because there isn’t anything like it. Not really a story with a plot, instead, what the audience experiences is just as the playbill explains…it is a series of poems from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939) set to music with orchestrations by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Cullen. Not just a musical, this show is chock full of fabulous costumes, makeup, thought-provoking backdrops and props, effective lighting, and– oh yes, more than two dozen of the most gifted actors/gymnasts/singers/acrobats ever to hit a stage. The unity of the cast is like none I’ve ever witnessed – the teamwork was truly that of a group of alley cats– strutting, purring, protecting and hissing their way through life’s daily performances.
Choosing my favorite scene of the evening is a cinch; I found myself positively mesmerized during matriarch cat Grizabella’s (Anastasia Lange) last verse of the song “Memory.” Her voice rendered me all but momentarily paralyzed. I was so moved I couldn’t even clap. Apparently the audience felt the same– as the earned applause and whistles were quite delayed– yet very loud, long and heartfelt once released.
Although I have been a kitty lover all my life and have nearly always had one (or more) to call my own, after seeing CATS I believe I now have a better understanding of felines– and a new favorite musical production.
Winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, CATS will run through March 21, at the Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles. Ticket prices range from $25 to $78. Purchase tickets online at BroadwayLA.org, by calling 1-800-982-ARTS (2787), in person at the Pantages Box Office (opens daily at 10am) and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers.
I wish a very happy birthday today to my loving husband Steve. XXOO