CATS Set to Roar at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre
The groundbreaking song-and-dance spectacular CATS is coming to the Maltz Jupiter Theatre stage!
With performances slated for Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18, the fantastical musical will feature 65 local students in grades 6-12 and members of the Theatre's college-level Professional Training Program.
Directed by longtime Conservatory faculty member and performer Lea Roy, the musical will feature the work of three cast members who performed together in the original smash hit Broadway show, starring Betty Buckley: choreography by Broadway veteran Brian Andrews, assistant choreography by Becky Timms and makeup by Anna McNeely.
Based on the universally popular poetry of T.S. Eliot, Andrew Lloyd Webber's whimsical masterpiece tells the story, in song and dance, of personified cats as they gather for the biggest night of the year, the Jellicle Ball. Filled with iconic dance numbers, CATS takes audiences on a journey with unforgettable songs like "Jellicle Cats" and "Memory."
With twice as many cast members as in the Broadway production, Andrews said he and Timms have been focused on honoring, recreating and expanding the work of the show's original famed choreographer, Gillian Lynne, who passed away last year at age 92.
"CATS is entirely danced and choreographed, so it really is about telling the story through movement," Andrews said, who spent 10 years performing in the Broadway production. "We've been trying to recreate as much as we can based on the abilities of our cast members and have truly been focused on immersive staging to accommodate so many performers. It's taken quite a bit of creativity and we'll have dancers all over the place: in the house of the theatre, on the stage, everywhere. Our production of CATS will be an experience people won't soon forget."
As the show's original Jennyanydots, McNeely will use her extensive knowledge of CATS to make sure that all of the makeup is Broadway caliber.
"It's been such an honor to work on this production with three original Broadway cast members, and such a gift for the kids to receive their guidance," Roy said. "Our production of CATS has been challenging because of the sheer size of the cast, but it's also what makes it so exciting; we've really been focused on creating a 'tribe' of cats where the audience will feel like they're truly part of the cats' lives. Many of our performers have been part of the Conservatory since kindergarten, and it's been amazing to watch them grow and rise to the challenge of dancing and singing at a Broadway level. This show is wonderful fun for the entire family!"
One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, CATS premiered in London in 1981 and ran for 21 years and nearly 9,000 performances, winning both the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. Two years later, the Broadway production became an instant hit, winning seven Tony Awards® (including Best Musical) and running for 18 years. Both the original London and Broadway cast recordings won Grammy Awards for Best Cast Album.
Since its debut, CATS has been presented in over 30 countries, has been translated into 15 languages and has been seen by more than 73 million people worldwide, including a 2016 Broadway revival.
The production will take place on the Theatre's professional regional stage, complete with stunning costumes, a fantastical junkyard set, spectacular lighting and accompaniment by the same orchestra that accompanies the Theatre's season musicals.
The musical features design elements from a host of industry professionals, including music direction from John Mercurio with music assistant Kerry Rocks, scenic and properties design by the Theatre's properties master Casey Blanton, sound design by the Theatre's resident sound designer Marty Mets, lighting design by Michael J. Burris and costume design by Brittani Seach.
Performances of CATS will take place at 7:30 p.m. on May 17 and 18 at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students. Call (561) 575-2223 for tickets or visit www.jupitertheatre.org.
Photo by Jason Nuttle