Thursday, March 11, 2010

Must Love Cats - and Dance!

This Tuesday, I went to the opening night of one of the longest running, most anticipated (at least by me!), and very emotionally-charged musicals, CATS. I say emotionally-charged not because the musical has moments of joy, laughter, mystery, sadness and more, but that discussions about the musical always end up with people loving it or hating it, in the same way people love or hate cats (not kittens, of course - everyone loves kittens).

Of course, this is a generalization, and one does not need to love cats in order to enjoy the musical, CATS - but it helps. An interest in dance, especially modern dance, and a fondness for 80s nostalgia (especially leg warmers) also help. When I had first seen CATS in L.A., way back when, I could only remember the amazing makeup, costumes and large, "cat-sized" household objects of the extensive set. Now, I realized how talented and full of energy the cast must be in order to pull off what seemed to be a continuous dance movement. Rarely was there a still moment on stage. If the "cats" weren't dancing or singing, they were pawing, purring and playing like... well, cats!

For those anticipating the return of the magic and mystery, these performances will not disappoint. I've memorized every song from the musical, and still I enjoyed singing along (okay - actually just mouthing the words - I didn't want to ruin it for everyone else!) to my favorite ones. I was also pleasantly surprised by the extensive amount of dancing (not on the soundtrack!) and the little quirks of a live performance. The Rum Tum Tugger's (overly) confident drawl got extra laughs, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaser's (slightly) skewed duet gave a neat twist to their song of mischief and mayhem,  and Skimbleshanks extra cheeriness (my personal favorite) really hit the spot (I always felt that Skimbleshanks was too uptight on the CD).

The first musical I saw as a young child was CATS, and from then on I was hooked. A variety of music, modern dance, leg warmers and cats all wrapped up with a splash of 80s nostalgia - what's not to love?

-Tiina Vuorenmaa

No comments: