Cats is playing at the Neil Simon Theatre located at 250 West 52nd Street. It runs two hours fifteen minutes with one intermission. It is an open ended run.
It premiered on May 11, 1981 in the New London Theatre, London, England.
Cats is the fourth longest running show in Broadway history 1982-2000. Marlene Danielle performed in the entire production.
The show was nominated for eleven Tony Awards and won seven. It won Best Musical and Book of a musical (T. S. Eliot), Best original Score (Andrew Lloyd Weber & T. S. Elliot), Best Feature Actress (Betty Buckley), Best Direction of a Musical (Trevor Nunn), Best Costume Design (John Napier) and Best Lighting Design (David Hersey). It was nominated for Best Scenic design (John Napier), Best Choreography (Gillian Lynne), Best Performance by a Feature Actor (Harry Groener and Stephen Hanan).
Trevor Nunn is the director. He won three Tony Awards for Les Miserables (1987), Cats (1983), The Lives of Nicholas Nickleby (1982) and was nominated for six Tony Awards for Oklahoma (2002), Not About Nightingales (1999), Sunset Boulevard (1995), Aspects of Love (1990), Starlight Express ( 1987) and All’s Wee that Ends Well (1983).
Andy Blankenbuehler is the choreographer. He won a Tony award and Drama Desk Award for Hamilton (2016) and was nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for 9 to 5 (2009) and In the Heights (2008).
John Napier is the scenic and costume designer. He won two Drama Desk Awards for scenic design for Starlight Express and Les Miserables (1987). John won two Drama Desks Awards for costume design for Starlight Express (1987) and Cats (1983).
Andrew Lloyd Weber is the composer. He has won seven Tony Awards for Sunset Boulevard (1995 Best Musical & Best Original Score), The Phantom of the Opera (1988 Best Musical), Cats (1983 Best Musical & Original Score), Evita (1980 Best Original Score) and Evita Best Musical (1979).
The story is about a group of cats called Jellicles. They meet once a year to choose the cat that will be reborn to a new life. The cat who picks the reborn is Heaviside Layer (Quentin Earl Darrington).
They tell stories of several of the cats. Grizabella (Mamie Milgrim) was a former glamour cat. But now she looks like things have been ruff for her. The other cats shun her. Macavity (Harris Milgrim) does crime but is never around to get caught. Mistoffelees performs feats of magic no other cat can do. Skimbleshanks (Jereny Davis) is a rail road cat. “The unofficial cat in charge of the night train to Glasgow”.
Here are more cats but I don’t want to give away their stories.
The cast is wonderful, they all have beautiful voices. Mamie Parris and Arianna Rosario singing of memory is breath taking.
The set, costumes and choreography were outstanding. Andy Blankenbuehler choreography was impressive. I was amazed how graceful the actors were.
If you can get close to the set it is worth seeing. John Napier did a great job incorporating cat things into the set. Quentin Earl Darrington told me that he stays on stage during intermission. When the weather is good outside they let the audience on stage during intermission to look around.
The cast comes down the aisle and if your seat is on the aisle you get to see the cats up close and personal. The even may touch you.
The only down side to the show was where your seat is. Act one I was by the wall and had trouble hearing the group when they sang together. During act two I was able to get a seat in the center and I could hear everything.
To leave with the quote of Old Dueteronomy “ Cats are not Dogs!”. But I will say if you don’t have a cat you will still like this show. Even if the cats had weird names.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich,
Photos by Annazor.
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