Saturday, November 27, 2010
Jellicle Cats Have Moonlit Eyes...
Last night, Jeff and I had the opportunity to go see the touring Broadway show Cats. We were offered tickets thanks to my affiliation with Indianapolis MomsLikeMe. When my mom and I moved from Kentucky to Ohio (after she married my dad), one friendship my mom had in our church became really important. There was a woman who owned the concessions business at a theatre downtown- the theatre where the touring Broadway series performed. My mom and I started working for her. We came early to help stock the stands, we watched the show, we sold goodies at intermission. I wish I had a better memory recall to be able to tell you exactly how many years we had this sweet gig. But I can tell you I saw fantastic shows for a few seasons at least. It was through this opportunity that I first saw Cats. I'd heard people talking about the show- bottom line seemed to be you would either "get" it or you wouldn't. The show was about to start, the lights were going down, the lights onstage started flashing all those yellow cat eyes... and I was hooked. I saw the show multiple times through that venue and had an opportunity to see it at least once over 10 years ago. Last night, I made a wonderful discovery. I still have the same favorite cats. Everyone who sees Cats leaves and has a favorite Cat. In fact, I remember freshman or sophomore year of high school... it was a topic of conversation in the computer lab one day. I can still remember the favorite Cat of this one guy that I never would have pegged for a Cats fan (his favorite was Mr. Mistofelees- the conjuring cat). My favorite cats from the moment I saw the show were Mungojerry and Rumpelteazer. And they still are. I felt like a kid all over again when they came on stage. I knew every word of their song, I was mouthing it along, and I still "knew" a bunch of their choreography! When I was seeing Cats in my youth... I always had this fantasy... see, by working the concession stand, I got to see a show multiple times in its run in our city. So I used to imagine that someone Big and Important in the production had been secretly watching me because I was there early... and surely they noticed that I had this natural talent... and my daydream was that a cat was suddenly ill and just couldn't go on... and this Big and Important person comes to me and asks me to be in the show... I had that daydream a lot. I wish I could tell you exactly why Mungojerry and Rumpelteazer were my favorite Cats. Maybe because they got into such trouble. Maybe because they were such a great team. Last night, my second favorite cat- Gus, the theatre cat- became a greater favorite. I connected more with him now because I've been involved in community theatre and I've known real life people who are Gus. That had these great careers behind them... when they were younger, more handsome, more beautiful, and so on. When I first started in the community here, one of my favorite times at a rehearsal or cast party would be when one of the "old folks" would talk about the history of their performances at our little theatre and they always had that "one great role" to tell us about. Seeing Cats last night was about more than just a bunch of Jellicle Cats dancing and singing about who would be chosen to go to the Heavy Side Layer. My excitement about seeing Cats- and it did not go unfulfilled- was to connect with that excitement I knew and loved about theatre when I was a kid. As a kid, theatre was the ultimate escape. Theatre offered fantastic opportunities to imagine a way to escape that chaos that, at that point, was trapped inside of me. As an adult, I could enjoy my childlike enthusiasm but also marveled at the strength and skill of the actors onstage. I loved that I could be watching a bunch of cats one second and the next, I am in awe of what these actors can do with their bodies. Cats is currently touring and if it comes to your town or city, I definitely encourage you to try and go see it. Plan ahead and save up for it. For you, it offers an amazing display of talent in both singing, dancing, makeup, costumes, and more. For you and your children, it offers an escape to a secret world of cats... meeting up in an old junkyard... sharing with us a slice of their feline lives as they keep trains running on time, conjur up magical tricks, and even give off sexual energy that makes a cat's toes curl! Have you seen Cats? Most important question- who is your favorite Jellicle Cat?
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