Cats is pure spectacle, from the first moments of the light show with the flying saucer gizmo that lifts off for parts unknown, to the last moments when Grizabella meets her final reward. It is shimmering, leaping, booty shaking spectacle. There should be a Tony for the ensemble of dancers in this production (original choreography by Gillian Lynne has been spiffed up and augmented by Andy... Read more
One of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most iconic and unique musicals, the original Broadway premiere of Cats played a staggering total of 7,485 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre. The "Memory" lived on with the first-ever Broadway revival which played the Neil Simon Theatre from July 14, 2016 through to December 30, 2017.
Based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, the musical introduces us to a host of colourful feline characters, who all attend (or at times terrorize) the Jellicle Ball. From the rockstar-attitude of Rum Tum Tugger ("He's a curious cat") to the mischievous trouble-making of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer and from Gus the Theatre Cat's nostalgic regaling of tales from years gone by to the orderly time-keeping of Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat, this ensemble piece truly allows each member of this huge company their moment in the spotlight.
Of course, the show's timeless standard "Memory" remains the show-stealer with Mamie Parris' Grizabella the Glamour Cat - an outcast amongst the jellicles - painfully yearning for acceptance and for a new day to begin. Kudos also go to Zachary Downer's breathtaking performance as Mistoffelees the Conjuring Cat. His skill as a dancer coupled with the iconic choreography of Gillian Lynne (honored in this revival by Andy Blankenbuehler) are a wonder to behold.
Cats remains as unique a piece of musical theatre today as it was in it first burst onto the scene in the 1980s. Lloyd Webber's old-school musical motifs are just as infectious today, filling audience members' heads for days even weeks afterwards.
(Photos by Matthew Murphy)
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The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as 'The Jellicle choice' and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.