During its time, Cats was the longest running Broadway show, closing after 7,485 performances in September of 2000. Now, it’s back! Cats reopened in late July, 2016. The music is exactly the same as the original production, and the new directors preserved the lively and upbeat nature of the show when it was first on Broadway. From watching the choreography, it was clear that every actor had extensive ballet and dancing careers. They carried themselves with poise, even while contorting in such strange poses. There was no dialogue without the company bursting out in song, so the entire production was lively with elaborate dancing and singing from start to finish. However, this aspect of the play made the storyline hard to follow because everything happened so quickly.
Mr. Mistoffelees, a magical cat who saves the Jellicle Ball, the annual cat festival, was a crowd-favorite song, whose number includes sparkly, lit-up costumes, countless pirouettes, and magical tricks. “Macavity: The Mystery Cat,” was a jazzy number that upheld the truly mysterious demeanor of the delinquent cat, Macavity. “Memory” was a heart breaking ballad about recollecting happiness in a time of solitude. It was sung by Grizabella, the outcast of the cats due to her disheveled and neglected looks, with a strong and powerful, yet tender voice. Rum Tum Tugger, the cat equivalent of Elvis Presley, starred in his self-titled solo that showcased his sassy and seductive appeal– to other cats, of course.
When I first sat down at my seat, I was disappointed that I was in the far back of the orchestra in an aisle seat. However, once the show started, I was surprised with the amount of times the “cats” ran through and interacted with the audience. During the intermission I had the opportunity to walk the stage, which to my surprise was slanted. Old Deuteronomy, the large and furry elder statesmen of the cats, even took pictures with the audience members.
Overall, the Cats revival failed to disappoint. The production preserved its spirit just as it was decades ago. Given the chance, I would highly recommend you see it.
by Hannah Lebow