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Review: Columbus Children's Theatre Breathes a Fresh New Life Into CATS

When a small Ohio theatre company continues to produce stars such as Josh Radnor, Steven Boyer, AJ Shively, Jessica Grove and more, it's no coincidence that they are something truly special. Not surprisingly, then, Columbus Children's Theatre has once again raised the bar in their spring musical, CATS, with their innovative vision and talent, which is second to none.

Under the stellar direction of Ryan Scarlata and the ambitious creative team, their ingenious concept was to forego the traditional nocturnal junkyard setting of the original production, and instead, create a deserted circus carnival. With the use of silks, lyra, and aerial performers in choreographer Jeff Fouch's distinctive choreography, this amazing production has given CATS a fresh new life, yet retains its haunting portrayal of the original. Adding the warmth of the Lincoln Theatre, along with orchestra under the outstanding direction of Jonathan Collura, not to mention the unbelievably talented cast, this production is a must-see for Columbus theatergoers.

CATS features an ensemble of talented performers who all work together harmoniously to build depth and personality to each character cat. Sara Tuohy and Kyle Swearinger are delightful and mischievous as "Mungorjerrie and Rumpleteazer," Justin King plays a cool Rum Tum Tugger, Ryan Stem is a lofty and commanding "Old Deuteronomy," and Choreographer Jeffrey Fouch is magical and electric in his rendition of "Mr. Mistoffelees." Standing on her own is the impeccable Kendra Lucas as "Grizabella," who is a vulnerable, delicate powerhouse and gives a truly hair-raising performance of "Memory."

The stunning use of lighting by Brendan Michna, set design by Michael Brewer, costume by Patty Bennett and Angela Barch-Shamell, elaborate choreography by Jeffrey Fouch, and the incredible make-up team comprised of Suzanne Camilli, Mary Sink, Lauren McDaniels and Kase Donaldson all create a visual feast, which brings yet another life to CATS.

Whether or not you are a fan of the original CATS, you don't want to miss this fresh new production, which breathes a real human element into the felines and communicates a message of eternal acceptance in a world of constant opposition.

Kudos to all involved! There's one more chance to see Columbus Children's Theatre's production of CATS, which runs at the Lincoln Theatre through May 15th. For tickets or more information on this and other CCT productions, visit: http://www.columbuschildrenstheatre.org/

Photo Credit: Daivd Heasley



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