Friday, June 30, 2006

At war with the snob within

As a part-time professional theater snob, I know I’m not supposed to like “Cats.” The famous feline musical was flogged by critics back in the early 80s and has the ignominy of representing the pinnacle of the “all spectacle, no spine” shows of that era. But it’s easy to overlook that even the infamously nasty Frank Rich said, “Whatever the other failings and excesses, even banalities, of ‘Cats,’' it believes in purely theatrical magic, and on that faith it unquestionably delivers.”

I’ve seen “Cats” only once. When they announced the eminent end of its run on Broadway, my wife and I packed up our two theater-loving daughters (5 and 6 at the time) and headed north. Just because I was a snob, there was no reason to keep the kids away from the chance of a lifetime. I was all prepared to be haughty with distain over the show, went into the theater with my nose already pointing towards the ceiling. But surprisingly enough, like gazillions of people before me, I too was transported by that theatrical magic Rich describes. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It reminded me of the first time I saw “Star Wars;” I knew it wasn’t “art,” in the full sense of the depth and breadth that art can be, but darn if it wasn’t an thrilling good time just the same.

Which is all just preamble for a short comment on the production of “Cats” that SPARC is preparing. I saw some of the pictures of cast members in full costume and makeup yesterday and it’s clear that SPARC is going all out on this one. Just seeing the cats in costume gave me a glimmer of that magic again. I wasn’t particularly jazzed about “Cats” before yesterday. But now, I’m thinking that even though swim team championships are that week and the American Idol concert is that Saturday and there’s always 42 other things we should be doing, the T family will be figuring out some way to see this production.

One more little tidbit: the first “official” Beatles stage show opens this week in Las Vegas. I think Circe de Soleil is cool as all get-out and I certainly enjoy my John, Paul, George and Ringo. Still, I can’t find anything in this announcement that excites me in the slightest. Are there people out there who were pining for this show?

I’m heading out of town for the holiday weekend so I won’t be adding anything to this blog until after the fireworks have all gone boom. That doesn’t mean you can’t be commenting away in my absence though (you are out there, aren’t you?) As per “Coffee Tawk,” feel free to talk amongst yourselves. Happy Independence Day!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How exciting that "Cats" is coming to Richmond! Saw it in New York years ago, and have loved it ever since. I can't wait to see SPARC's production. Their "Pippin" last year was outstanding, and my husband and I have been eagerly awaiting this summer's show.