REVIEW: #38 Cats, The Musical (Show)

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Title: Cats, The Musical.
Date: October 24th 2009
Location: Carr Performing Arts Centre in Orlando, Florida.
Directed by: Richard Stafford
Review:

Yesterday was the first time I saw Cats on stage. Being a former Thespian – I still have such an immense passion for the arts so it’s a big surprise that I went so long without having seen it. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of musicals I have yet to see. (Enter sad shameful face, here). I wasn’t really sure what to expect of Cats, as I had never done any particular study on the show and had absolutely NO CLUE what this Broadway show was about (minus the obvious).

Cats is based on the book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. (Who would have known?) Some of the other songs are based on unreleased poems T.S. Eliot had written and/or other books. The poetry by T.S. Eliot is put to music by the infamous Andrew Lloyd Webber and performed by Columbia Artists Theatricals (see cast below).

Although (I hate to even admit this) I was bored during a portion of the show, it was never due to the performance and/or singing – but due to not truly understanding the show itself and what was happening with the characters. I felt lost at times. One minute they are singing about a fat cat – and then he’s a pirate and there are these Egyptian statues. I felt very clueless during the entire performance, although enjoyed many moments of my unknowing.

cats-themusical-coverThere were a few performers that stood out beyond the rest. There wasn’t an arm or neck in the building that wasn’t covered in goosebumps when Anastasia Lange belt out Memory towards the end of the show. She nailed it with such a strong and powerful voice that I will forever be in awe of that moment she sang out, “Touch me! It’s so easy to leave me all alone with the memory of my days in the sun.  If you touch me you’ll understand what happiness is…”  The power and the desperation! I may have not understood what Cats was about, but there was no denying what Grizzabella was going through – and how every person in the house felt it. Although I have attached a clip of Anastasia singing that portion of the song, it in NO WAY compares to hearing it in person. It was utter magic.

Adam Steiner played a flamboyantly horny pelvic thrusting Tom cat named Rum Tum Tugger – and his performance was well enjoyed by the audience.  Many of the performers performed wonderfully, showcasing their acrobatics, dancing skills, and voice – although their characters not as memorable as others but still – essential to the show, all the same.

I enjoyed my first performance of Cats, and I would considering seeing it again – especially to hear that one special moment when Anastasia Lange’s lungs outperform those of her peers.

Cast Includes:

  • Trenard L. Mobley as Alonzo
  • Ryan William Bailey as Asparagus, Bustopher Jones, and Growltiger
  • Cara Cooley as Bombalurina
  • Stephanie L. Bampbell as Cassandra
  • Lisa Kuhnen as Demeter
  • Brian Bailey as Genghis abd Nybgiherrue
  • Lindsay O’Neil as Griddlebone and Jellylorum
  • Anastasia Lange as Grizabella
  • Jennifer Cohen as Jennyanydots
  • Drew Roelofs as MacCavity
  • Chris Mackenthun as Mistoffolees
  • Tug Watson as Munkustrap
  • Philip Peterson as Old Deuteronomy
  • Drew Roelofs as Plato
  • Michael J. Rios as Pouncival
  • Kristen Quartarone as  Rumpelteazer
  • Adam Steiner as Rum Tum Tugger
  • Aubrey Elson as Sillabub
  • John Jacob Lee as Skimbleshanks
  • Jason Wise as Tumblebrutus
  • Sarah Bumgarner as Victoria

Understudies Included

  • Erin Chupinsky
  • Jennifer Cohen
  • Daniel Dawson
  • Aubrey Elson
  • Michael Fatica
  • Felix Hiss
  • Lucy Horton
  • Eva Kosmowski
  • Brad Landers
  • Allison Little
  • Nathan Morgan
  • Michael J. Rios

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3 Comments

  1. Allison says

    Oh, tell me about it! I enjoyed the theatrics of the play, that’s for sure. The dancing was amazing and wouldn’t have had them change a thing in regards to that. I am glad that Anastasia Lange was a powerful, strong singer. It was perfect just the way she sang it.

  2. CatsInPortland says

    Wow!

    You touched on exactly what I was feeling/thinking about the show. My husband and I had no idea what it was about, but knew it was a long-running Broadway Play and I didn’t want to go without seeing it.

    We thought at times during the perfomance that perhaps we (kiddingly)”needed to have taken something” before attending so we would understand what was going on…but like you, still enjoyed the show despite being unprepared and unknowledgable about it.

    Anastasia’s performance in Act II brought tears to my eyes. Adam Steiner’s Rum Tum Tugger’s songs were among my favorites and I thought the Growltiger segment was a nice departure from the regular ’scene’ of the show…while it didn’t make a lot of sense at times, my thoughts were that he was re-enacting a stage performance as himself as a much younger cat…and then I was able to appreciate it more.

    The acrobatic skills of Drew Roelofs as Macavity were amazing and well received.

    The bright lights flashing, strobing and shining in our faces at times were a little overwhelming and made it hard to focus on the action afterwards. While we had nice seats on the Orchestra floor…it was still good to have the binoculars to better focus on the character’s expressions.

    Thanks for sharing your critique…I wished I had read it before I saw the show last night, so I knew what to expect.

  3. Dreamybee says

    I’m glad you enjoyed Cats. It’s by no means a good play, but it’s a wonderful production! LOL. I love the costumes, the makeup, the characters, the people acting like cats the whole time; and, as you now know, that song can absolutely shatter you when it’s performed well. One minute you’re being amused by a bunch of people in cat costumes, and the next thing you know you’re the blubbering mess in seat E23!

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