Saturday, February 10, 2007


Last evening my wife and I joined a packed house to watch the opening performance of The Central Wisconsin Educational Theatre Alliance's production of CATS. The troupe, consisting of freshman thru seniors of five local high schools gave an outstanding performance way beyond their years.

Is CATS my all-time favorite musical? ... of course not. Is this production of CATS the best high school/college musical that I have ever seen done in this town? ... Absolutely!

In addition to the talented young students, much credit goes to the Project Coordinator, the Directors and the Choreographers. The latter were the lady who runs the Childrens Theatre program in this area and a gentleman from UWSP who is involved in theatre at that instituion. Their efforts were augmented by a former Wausau East graduate, who choreographed the huge Jellicle Cat number. She now lives in NYC and pursues theater and dancing in the Big Apple, has a strong background on Broadway and theatre in several other major cities, as well as having traveled the world performing with Tokyo Disney, Holland America, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Many of the students are also attendees of area dance studios and academies. The choreography of this show will blow you away! Many of these young people have also studied voice for years. The audience simply roared after several of the numbers! The costuming and sets were also very well done. The orchestra was good (and loud). There simply was not anything I didn't like about this show.

I feel that Rum Tum Tugger gave the performance of his young theatrical career. And there were many others that did the same. Rumpletezer and her partner gave a delightful, athletic performance. Jellylorum & Gus reminded me of the time and "the mystery when I made history". I've observed Munkustrap's voice improve constantly over the last five years to the fine instrument it is today. Grizabella held the audience spellbound as she related "memories in the moonlight". And Jennyanydots was cute, exciting, and fun. What a smile!

Many others gave simply outstanding performances. Was I influenced by the fact that my nephew was Rum Tum Tugger? I don't think so. I talked after the show with a former English teacher at East who is a New York City affectionado. He attends countless theatrical productions in New York, has seen CATS performed on Broadway twice, and has seen it done once in Chicago. He was truly excited by the quality of last night's performance, and eagerly shook the hands of many of the young actors. He too expressed amazement at the excellence of the choreography at this level.

So CATS, you did it! You blew them away! You excited and delighted your audience! Bravo ....... I hope I can scrounge up another ticket!

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