BWW Review: CATS Brings the Jellicle Ball to the Kennedy Center
"The Memory Lives Again" at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as the National Tour of CATS takes the Opera House Stage. CATS has been entertaining audiences all over the world since its Broadway debut in 1982. Now, the newly imagined, yet classic CATS invites us into the junkyard all over again in Washington, DC.
CATS is based on the poem Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats and includes music by Andrew Llyod Webber. While there is no clear plot, you are introduced to each cat throughout the show and come to realize what it's like in the junkyard. Over the course of the show, one cat is chosen by Old Deuteronomy to be "reborn." Together with Andrew Llyod Webber's iconic score, infectious costumes and masterful "junkyard" scenic design by John Napier, expert lighting by Natasha Katz, and exceptional sound design by Mick Potter, CATS soars to new levels to provide a unique theatrical experience.
The National Tour of CATS stuns with some brilliant choreography by Andy Blankenbueler of Broadway's Hamilton, based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne. The entire cast masterfully brings to life Blankenbuehler's choreography as they do not stop moving for the entirety of the performance. The production, under the direction of Trevor Nunn is sure to thrill.
When I saw the 2016 Broadway revival I marveled at how incredibly talented the cast was, and I'm pleased to have the same thoughts about this touring cast. Keri Rene Fuller brings the house down as Grizabella with her incredibly moving rendition of the notably famous song: "Memory!" McGee Maddox breaths new life and incredible vocals to Bill Bailey/Rum Tum Tugger. Brandon Michael Nase's presence as the old, wise, loveable, Old Deuteronomy is captivating. Other standouts include Tony d'Aleio and Rose Iannaccone as the dynamic duo of Mungojerrie and Reumpelteazer respectively and Caitlin Bond as Victoria. It wouldn't be a complete review without mentioning PJ DiFaetano's incredibly magical performance as the dazzling Magical Mister Misoffelees.
Don't miss this one-of-a-kind theatrical experience. This is a show for theatre lovers non-theatre lovers of all ages and because of its versatility, it strikes people on many different levels. Whether you've already experienced CATS, or are waiting to experience it for the first time, don't miss your opportunity to catch this true gem of a production of the famed, international hit musical!
CATS plays the Opera House at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts located at 2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20566 now through October 6. For tickets, click here or call the box office at (202) 467-4600.
Total Run time: Approximately 2- ¼ hours.
Photo Credits of Brendan Padgett (Kennedy Center)