BWW Review: CATS at Popejoy Hall
Cats comes to Popejoy Hall and proves to be a delightful experience for theatre goers of all ages. This much-beloved musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which is based on T.S. Eliot's book of poetry, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," is so full of joy, energy, and pure entertainment, that it's easy to see how it was one of the longest-running productions on Broadway. Since its debut in 1982 at the Winter Garden Theatre, Cats ran for 7,485 performances in an 18-year span. It has also been performed in over 30 countries, translated into 15 languages, and seen by over 73 million people worldwide. After last night's opening night of Cats, it's no surprise the musical continues to be so popular.
The plot of the musical involves a group of cats, who refer to themselves as the Jellicle Cats, gathering together for the Jellicle Ball. The ball, which occurs once a year, ends with one of the Jellicle Cats being chosen by Old Deuteronomy (Adam Richardson), their leader, to ascend to the Heaviside Layer. Afterwards, they will be reborn and come back to a new life. Throughout the production, the audience is introduced to several of the cats, including Grisabella the Glamour Cat (Keri Rene Fuller), Rum Tum Tugger (McGee Maddox), Gus the Theatre Cat (Timothy Gulan), The Magical Mr. Mistoffelees (Tion Gaston), and Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat (Ethan Saviet).
While each member of the cast did an incredible job drawing the audience in to the show, there were a few standout performances. Fuller, as Grisabella, performed the iconic song, "Memory," flawlessly, incorporating a level of emotion into the difficult piece that had the audience nearly on the feet with applause. As Gus, an elderly cat with palsy, Gulan gives a heartfelt performance, especially when Gus recounts his adventures on the stage. As Rum Tum Tugger, Maddox commands the stage and is a true rock star. Gaston as Mr. Mistoffelees nearly steals the show during his performance, which includes elaborate costuming and lighting effects.
From the cats running through the audience and making the whole experience a thoroughly interactive one to the elaborate dance routines onstage, it would be impossible to discuss Cats without mentioning the breathtaking choreography. It has been updated for the national tour by Chrissie Cartwright, Kim Craven, and Elenore Scott and helps to make the production an absolute joy to attend. The stage and costume design by John Napier Abigail Hahn, as well as the hair and makeup design by Victoria Tinsman adds multiple layers to the pure enjoyment of the production, making Cats a show that's not to be missed.
Cats runs from Thursday, May 16th - Sunday, May 19th with performances at 7:30 pm on Friday, 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Saturday, and 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm on Sunday. Tickets range from $50.50 - $103, plus fees. They can be purchased at unmtickets.com, the UNM Bookstore ticket office, the UNM ticket office at Dreamstyle Arena, or by phone at (505) 925-5858 or (877) 664-8661. Be sure and take the whole family to this one of a kind experience!