A few musicals are instantly recognizable by a handful of notes. The Andrew Lloyd Weber Musical Cats, which is currently on a National Tour, is one of those works. Whether it is the first time or the 100th time that the audience has heard the synthesized sounds and the melodies, there is something new to discover in every scene. Isn’t it time to re-live the memory again?
For some musical fans, the characters of Rum Tom Tigger, Old Deuteronomy, Mistoffelees, and Grizabella are old friends that are always welcome in the spotlight. Although the audience might not sing along like a jukebox musical, the songs strike a chord.
Even as the first act ends and Tayler Harris brings the vulnerability to the iconic “Memory,” the audience is captivated. From the slight uncertainty to the longing for what once was, that moment is relatable. Many people remember that moment of greatness that they seek to recreate. It might not truly be 15 minutes of fame, but the view from above is far different from the one in the shadows.
While everyone cheers for the showmanship of Mistoffelees, that touch of magic isn’t just limited to his color-changing cloak. In some ways, that vibrancy illuminates the need to shine. It gives people hope that more is possible if they are willing to strive for it.
In contrast, when Rum Tum Tigger brings that bravado to center stage, that shake of his mane has everyone watching. He might strut boldly, but there is more to that swagger. There is a willingness to take charge. Sometimes everyone needs a strong personality in the pack.
Although it is not a spoiler which Jellicle cat is chosen at the end of the story, the familiar is seen in a different light every time the orchestra plays. The audience can see certain traits in those cat characters within the real world. Who doesn’t have a friend who wants to be the center of attention? What about the person who still longs for past success? There is a sense of universality to the story.
While much can be said about the songs, the staging, and the performances, sometimes one key element to Cats can be overlooked. Dance impacts the story. It is more than the highly choreographed numbers with expert precision. It is the way that each person emulates cat-like characteristics. From hand position to specific movements, the feline approach is clear.
In many ways, it is the dance moments that add a sense of vibrancy to the show. While there are plenty of emotions in the lyrical style, it is the movement that draws the audience into the story. But, there is an air of mystery. Just like a cat in real life, there is always something that people just can’t quite figure out.
Currently, Cats National Tour is playing at Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando. Future dates include stops in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia.
Memories never fade from the mind, but a new day will begin again. Ready to experience the familiar in a whole new light with this Cats National Tour?