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BWW Reviews: GARFIELD: THE MUSICAL WITH CATTITUDE Celebrates a Timeless Cat at Adventure Theatre MTC


Today is no ordinary day for Garfield, the lasagna loving tabby cat. After all, it is his birthday! Garfield is looking forward to celebrating his big day by eating a large plate of lasagna, taking a long nap, and watching endless hours of his favorite television shows. When poor Garfield realizes that his friends aren't acknowledging his special day, he schemes to go on an adventure with his loyal stuffed bear, Pookie, at his side. Adventure Theatre MTC's production of Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude, book by Jim Davis and Michael J. Bobbitt with music and lyrics by John L. Cornelius II, brings Jim Davis' Garfield from the comic strip to the stage.

Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude, directed by Nick Olcott, is vibrant in every way imaginable. The cast's comedic timing is spot on. Adults in the audience appreciate Garfield's cynical humor. Children in the audience love all of the slap stick antics ranging from a cartoony chase scene involving an animal control officer to a scene where Garfield has a battle with his alarm clock. Evan Casey as Garfield is a treat. His facial expressions and tone match Garfield's attitude from the comic strips. Other stand out performances include Emily Zickler as Arlene, Garfield's love interest, and Joshua Dick as Jon Arbuckle, Garfield's owner. Zickler and Casey's squabbles receive appreciative chuckles from the audience, especially during their reminiscing about their time together on the alley fence. Despite Dick's brief appearances as Jon, his quirkiness evokes the Jon of the comic strips from his outrageous outfit to his worries about preparing a dinner for Liz, his girlfriend.

Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude's music is catchy. One of the most memorable musical numbers is Garfield lamenting about how he "hates Mondays." There are moments during the production when the music overwhelms the actors' voices and it makes it hard to hear lyrics. Despite this issue, the cast's voices are nice to listen to during the musical numbers, such as Casey and Zickler's romantic duet on the fence. While the dance numbers are short, they are entertaining to watch. The cast is able to dance and soft-shoe their way around the stage with ease during a scene in the alley near Jon's house. The costumes, designed by Kendra Rai, are abstract and match the characters' personalities. The set, designed by Luciana Stecconi, is rich in color and it provides the perfect backdrop for a cartoonish setting.

Adventure Theatre MTC's production has plenty of laughs for adults and children. This musical shows the brilliance of Garfield to a new generation. Parents, please note that this production is a little lengthy for a children's show so, plan accordingly.

Adventure Theatre MTC's Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude runs through August 23, 2015. The show runs 1 hour without an intermission. Special productions include a sensory sensitive production on August 15, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. and an American sign language production on July 11, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are available online or at the box office.

Photo caption and credit: Evan Casey as Garfield and John Sygar as Odie in Adventure Theatre MTC's Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude. (Photo by Mike Horan)

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