Andrew Lloyd Webber, the name evokes everything that is musical theatre. His shows are legendary and their stories can go down in the annals of theatre history. They demonstrate the human condition and tell the story with dramatic, colorful characters. This is also accomplished by his music. From the book by T.S. Eliot “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, Webber created a musical that would become the longest running musical on Broadway and garner seven Tony awards. The show now celebrates it’s thirtieth anniversary and continues as the longest running touring show in history. For only a week, “CATS” will prowl on the Cadillac Palace stage and Chitownstarconnections was there opening night .
The stage started out as a dark, dank junkyard. But when the lights came up and the magic began, a slew of active cats crept out from the different parts of the theatre and gathered on the stage. I knew that this was not just any musical, but a special one. The costumes made the actors very agile and easy to move in. Hair and make up continued to give the allusion that these were not just actors, but friendly cats that had come to play. Next the cats started to gather on the stage.
Even though there were principals, each of the felines contributed to the performance. Whether they danced or sang , they added to the colorful picture that was presented on stage. Nathan Morgan as the elderly Old Deuteronomy enchanted with his rich voice and authoritative tones. He commanded the audience with his mannerisms and tender vocal stylings. Chris Stevens entertained as the Elvis like Rum Tum Tugger. His scene with the girl cats was reminiscent of a scene from “Bye Bye Birdie.” It looked like he was channeling the late Elvis as he swung his hips and charmed the ladies. Daniel Switzer and Hillary Porter’s playful portrayal of those fun loving kitties , Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer was pleasant and had the audience wondering what mischef would be next. Chaz Wolcott brought flash and glitter to the stage as he dazzled as the magical mystical Mistoffelees . His magic tricks entertained the young theatre goers as he engaged one of the many special effects that make the production a classic. But CATS wouldn’t be CATS without one song and that is the haunting ballad “Memory” And what a performance it was. Melissa Grabowoski played the cat whose time had come and gone with such grace and pathos. Her portrayal reminded me of another great Webber heroine, the tragic Nora Desmond of “Sunset Boulevard.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Ms Grabowski belted out the final notes of the song. It was something to remember and Jen had wanted to see this show since she was a child. I had always dreamed of playing Grizabella because it is just one of those roles. What a great song too.
If you want to experience this show , you had better hurry. The show is only in town for a week. It is a show that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Tickets are available for students and senior citizens for as low as 14.50 If you want more info , visit http://www.BroadwayinChicago.com .