Friday, July 27, 2012

CATS Prowls at Miller Park Starting Tonight

Miller Park Summer Theatre will open their production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats" tonight, with a slight adjustment in time due to the heat.

"Cats" opens tonight at the theater in Miller Park, with performances Saturday and Sunday this weekend, as well as Friday and Saturday next week. Sunday, August 5, has been reserved as a rain date. Performances were originally scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm, but have been pushed back to 8 pm to make it a little easier on the actors as well as the audience.

For this Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts production, Perry Self directs a cast of 50+ adult and child performers donning their best feline make-up and costumes in order to sing and dance their way through this ALW/Trevor Nunn/Gillian Lynne take on T. S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats." Among the cats who perform for your pleasure, you'll find 25-pounder Bustopher Jones; Rum Tum Tigger, the ladies' man of felines; Mr. Mistoffelees the magical cat; Rumpleteaser and Mungojerrie the cat burglars; and Grizabella, who used to be a glamour puss, but now can only dream of past glory. It's Grizabella who sings the show's big hit, "Memory," near the end of the show.

The BCPA poster above tells us that this "Cats" is the first-ever to be produced in Bloomington-Normal. I can't attest to the veracity of that claim, but it's certainly interesting. "Cats" is the second-longest-running show in Broadway history, and it won seven Tony awards when it premiered on Broadway in  1983. It has toured the US repeatedly -- I think I reviewed it four or five times when tours came through Champaign-Urbana -- and it is an international hit, translated into ten languages, with productions "in over 20 countries and in about 250 cities, including such diverse destinations as Buenos Aires, Seoul, Helsinki and Singapore."

If you prefer your "Cats" in your own back yard, the Miller Park venue, where admission is free and refreshments are close at hand, may be just the ticket. For more information, call the BCPA at 309-434-2787, or visit the Miller Park Summer Theatre "Cats" page here.

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