The lithe, melodic characters from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats” will return to the Proctors Main Stage on Tuesday for a six-day run.
Based on TS Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, the musical tells the story of a night when the Jellicle Cats tribe gathers for an annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. It opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theater in 1982 and ran for 7,485 performances over 18 years.
The Tony Award-winning musical returned to Broadway in 2016 at the Neil Simon Theater, where it ran until 2017. Two years later, a film adaptation was produced with an all-star cast including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Judie Dench and others.
Although the film was filmed, the musical retained a fan base. The national touring production features Webber’s original score, which includes “Memory”, one of the musical theater genre’s most famous songs. The production also includes original set and costume design by John Napier, lighting design by Natasha Katz and sound design by Mick Potter.
For those who may have seen the musical a few times over the years, this version features new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, known for his work on “Hamilton”, “In the Heights” and “Bandstand” (which Niskayuna native Robert Taylor co-wrote). Even with Blankenbuehler’s updates, the choreography remains rooted in Gillian Lynne’s original work.
The cast includes Tayler Harris as Grizabella, who sings the standout song “Memory,” and begins as an outcast who wants to return to the Jellicle Cats. Harris, a native of Portland, Oregon, who is also a singer/songwriter, is making her national touring debut in the role.
“It’s truly an honor to be part of the continuing legacy of this role…I’m the fifth black woman to play Grizabella, so it’s truly an honor,” Harris told Fort Worth Magazine at the end of the episode. ‘last year.
“There are three words that everyone on the show received while preparing for the lead character. We’re ‘proud, hurt, and indomitable’ for Grizabella. Just when I keep singing ‘Memory’, I always think of everything i’ve worked for up to this point to get me here night after night to do this, just go, wow i’ve worked so hard and i just showed up and prayed for this, and how special it is to share the song with so many wonderful human beings on stage. It’s a moment where, although I’m very much in the spotlight, it’s also so beautiful to connect with everything the world face to face.
Harris stars alongside Chelsea Nicole Mitchell, who plays Bombalurina, one of the lead vocalists who helps introduce the other cats. The cast also includes, among other actors, Paul Giarratano, who is making his national tour debut playing Mistoffelees, a tuxedo cat with magical powers he cannot yet control. For the full cast list and more about the show, visit ustour.catsthemusical.com.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, May 5; 8 p.m. Friday, May 6; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday May 7 and 2 p.m. Sunday May 8
MORE INFO: protors.org
REMARK: Overseers and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society will be holding a Night of Kittens on Broadway on Thursday, May 5. Children and teens 18 and under can attend the Thursday night “Cats” show for free when accompanied by a paying adult using the code BUTTON.
For 90 minutes before the show, the Proctors Arcade will be full of local vendors, each with their own free cat-themed activity for kids and families. Spicy Purrito, a local cat-themed store, will offer a cat toy “spider” that kids can make at home. Jakes Jammin Bowties will be offering a game for participants to try to win a set of two free bow ties. Adirondack Bakery will offer treats for dogs and cats as well as animal coloring. Face painting will also be available, sponsored by the Kids Arts Festival.
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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Schenectady