The world-famous sound of “Memory” rings from the stage again, at Philadelphia’s Miller Theater on Broad Street, part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus. Cats graces the City of Brotherly Love with performances from March 14-19. With a cast delivering heart and soul in this two-hour, twenty-minute-long performance, the magic of the iconic show lives again. Based on the 1939 poetry collection Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, this Andrew Lloyd Webber musical gives the audience what these shows are all about – the song and dance. Constant choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne) to sung verses from the actual poetry, with a few exceptions, includes clever prop-use and fantastic costuming (original scenic and costume design by John Napier), and insane, intricate lighting (Natasha Katz). Just the lighting alone can serve as a show to take the breath away but mix it all together and you can forget yourself in a theater with your new feline friends.
Oh, you will meet them, as they gather to introduce each cat and decide which will advance to the next life to start again. Cats is the epitome of everything that is right and true in Musical Theatre. Sound design is credited to Mick Potter and direction by Trevor Nunn.
Opening night at the Miller was what every show aspires to be. The building was a buzz with excitement, every scene involving power moves and singing executed to the fullest, shouts and laughter from the from the audience, as well as a standing ovation.
The cast is one that likes to have fun, milking their moment on-stage with even unexpected side-jokes and great energy. Bravo to the clear taps of the group and soloist “Old Gumbie Cat” (Michelle E Carter.) Truly, actors are magnificent, triple threats even more so, but for a full-grown adult, so far from the imagination of childhood, to take on the role of a feline- with all gestures and movements (!!), is a feat - hats off to the performers.
**Make sure to wear your cat ears and whiskers** and bring the whole family, now through Sunday at 250 S. Broad Street.