I know I was supposed to get back into the swing of writing posts, but I have admittedly been neglecting my poor, old (one year!) blog. And I hate to only write about musicals I see, but I can’t help myself! I saw CATS on Tuesday and I just have to sing it’s praises for a few paragraphs.
I found an awesome deal from travelzoo and got a 3rd row seat on opening night. I found out later I was in the “premium seating” section, so I saved about $100 off my ticket price. Can’t beat that.
I didn’t know what to expect from the show, other than people in spandex acting like cats. Turns out, that’s exactly what it was. I’ll admit that I was confused as to where the story was going (or what the story even was) during the first act, but it didn’t matter. The costumes and make up and acting and songs were SO GOOD that I didn’t need to know exactly what a Jellicle cat was. I still don’t really know what that means, but like I said, that doesn’t matter.
So, the characters are all cats, of course, and I thought the actors did a phenomenal job of getting and staying in cat mode. I loved paying attention to the cats in the background while action was happening up front. They would just be doing cat things–fighting, falling asleep, cleaning themselves, yawning, etc.–while most eyes were on the featured cats singing down-stage, and I was just tickled by that. And there was such attention to detail, the way they all stretched and hissed, it was like watching the world’s best cat video live, in person.
The songs were catchy and fun, and most were very familiar to me. I think we had the record growing up, and in middle or high school, we played a CATS medley in band, and it turns out I’ve had one of the songs (“Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat”) repeatedly stuck in my head since then. Now I know how it really goes! The best musical moment though, in my opinion, was during “Memory.” I think everyone knows that song, and it is beautiful, but when Grizabella, portrayed by Melissa Grohowski, hit that big note (just audio, but go to 4:30 if you want to hear it) at the end, it was… well, I’ve never experienced anything like it before. It was like you could feel the sound. And see it. And roll it around in your hand and smell it and taste it and take it home with you. That probably doesn’t make sense, but I know what I felt (instant full body goosebumps is the easiest way to describe it). The music touched every cell in my body and resonated through my bones. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard, I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped and my eyes popped, and I almost cried. And Ms. Grohowski made it look as easy as breathing. Unbelievable, otherwordly talent. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed, and the well-deserved round of applause after the song went on forEVER.
to use as a nightshirt when my Joseph shirt is dirty, but it was late and the line was long, so I just peaced out. On the way to the car, I found myself humming some of the songs I had just heard, and as soon as I was seated in the car I made a CATS station on Pandora. That wasn’t enough though, I had to buy some of my favorite tunes on iTunes the next day, but that STILL wasn’t enough. I decided that, since the travelzoo deal was still on, I would go again this weekend. It seriously burrowed into my brain and now I can’t get it out! For the next show (which will be their last in Chicago, it’s cute how I’m seeing the first and last) I’m trying to learn as many of the characters names as I can, not because it’s necessary to enjoy the show, but for me, it is necessary to enjoy the show (I am obsessed with knowing everyone and everything’s name). I also want to be hit by that wall of “Memory” sound again, and this time, I selected an aisle seat so I can get a good view of the cats when the lurk through the audience. And get that fancy tee.
Another reason I loved this show is that I felt like I was transported to the 1980s. And that’s usually not a bad thing. I hope the second time around is as good as the first, which I award an A+. If you like cats or musical theatre, I would highly recommend seeing this show.