Cats and Dogs

I am a dog person. I am not a cat person. The idea of spending an evening with a bunch of cats of all stripes and varieties never quite appealed to me. I state this to explain why, despite being the second longest running Broadway show, I never saw Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats”…that is until last month. With kids in tow, I attended a performance of the musical at the White Plains Performing Arts Center (WPPAC),  which was a thorough delight. My normal reaction when I encounter a cat is to stiffen, freeze and ignore, which according to my cat friends makes me irresistible to felines. That proved to be true at the theater as the Jellico cats slithered off the stage and charmed me and all the other kids in the audience.

The performance was directed by Jeremy Quinn, the recently appointed WPPAC producing artistic director, a 30-year theater veteran who also runs the WPPAC Conservatory.  He mounted the show in three weeks at a third of the cost of previous WPPAC productions. The show even made a small profit. Now that’s what we like to hear!  The choreography by Greg Baccarini was superb, as was the lighting and technical effects by Andrew Gmoser, the junkyard scenery designed by Joseph Egan, and the live orchestra led by Kurt Kelley, the musical director.  Seems like the WPPAC has found a new voice as well as a new audience…grandparents like me.  What a pleasure to have an upbeat, thoroughly professional, fun theater experience for families so close to home and at an affordable ticket price.  We will be lining up for future performances of The Rocky Horror Show January 13-15, presented by their Conservatory Theatre, Lend Me a Tenor March 9-18, and The Secret Garden May 11-20, the next features in their Mainstage Season. Meanwhile, I hope someone will put Marley or Lassie to music so we can all bark about it.

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