I saw this musical many years ago (I cannot remember with whom) at Topeka Civic Theatre. I had no idea what to expect. I was not entranced. The main question running through my mind (other than "they aren't going to get off the stage and pull me out of the audience, are they?") was "why would someone write a musical about the Old Man's dialogue from Logan's Run?"
Those of you who've seen both will understand. Those of you who haven't, well...ask your personal geek.
Turns out Cats is based on a book of poems by T.S. Elliot called Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Andrew Lloyd Webber linked them together with music and created a very strange montage of ridiculous words like "jellicle" and "gumby" and loud, crashing music. He even worked in a little opera.
When invited to see it again, I was hesitant. But, I love the people going and I didn't have to pay, so I accepted with good graces, determined to make the best of the evening. (Allow me to offer a plug for Runza's restaurant in Lawrence. Fabulous food. Thanks for the intro, Elder Brother).
This time, I was entranced. I don't know what made the difference. Were the performers better? They were better than I remembered. Was the seating more comfortable? Since we were far enough from the stage to assure no spandex-clad actor would leap from the platform and drag me into a version of performance art, I would say "Yes." Was the story more poignant? Absolutely. I could not help but compare Grizzabella to my own little Mica, and the tears flowed at the last refrain of "Memories."
So even though I was very tired and fairly hot and a little sick to my stomach from the drive, I had a wonderful time at my second viewing of Cats. Thank you kindly, Elder Brother, for inviting me, and Bessie, for making him go.
One caveat. The annoying refrain for Magical Mr. Mistopheles has been running around my brain for the last 10 hours. I have no idea when it will subside, but I pray it is soon.