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PPT to present ‘Cats’ — opening night March 12

One of the most popular musicals of all time coming to the Meroney

 
By Josh Wainright, Piedmont Players Theatre

Since CATS first opened on the West End stage in 1981, it has become one of the world’s best-known and best-loved musicals. As of 2014, it is the third longest-running Broadway musical in history.

Based on T.S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles that meet on one special night each year, at the Jellicle Ball, where their wise and benevolent leader announces which of them will go up to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life.

The show is completely told through music with virtually no spoken dialogue between songs. The songs of the musical comprise Eliot’s verse set to music by the composer, the principal exception being the most famous song from the musical, “Memory,” for which the lyrics were written by Trevor Nunn after an Eliot poem entitled “Rhapsody on a Windy Night.”

The original production was produced by Cameron Mackintosh (Les Misérables) and features an award- winning score composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar), with musical genres ranging from classical to pop, jazz, rock and electro- acoustic music and even includes hymn-like songs.

Costuming and dance are key elements in CATS, including a jaw: dropping 10-minute Jellicle Ball dance sequence. Darlene Krantz, a California based costume designer making her PPT debut, designed and constructed the eye-popping costumes.

The cast of the Piedmont Players production is comprised of a few PPT veterans joined by a number of new faces, including three Catawba College students and newcomers from as far away as Charlotte, Mooresville and Huntersville. Due to the physical demands of the show, this cast has rehearsed far more than the norm, practicing four hours per night Monday through Friday and eight hours every Saturday for more than a month.

PPT’s production of CATS, which shattered the Meroney opening day ticket sales record, reunites the creative team that brought you last season’s smash hit musical CHICAGO. Director and choreographer Tod A. Kubo, musical director Mike Wilkins, and set designer Reid Leonard will again combine their incredible talents to bring another show to the Meroney stage that will be talked about for years to come.

 

WANT TO GO?

March 12 – 14 and 18 – 21 at 7:30 p.m. 

Sunday matinee March 15 at 2:30 p.m. 

Tickets at the Meroney box office at 704-633-5471 or piedmontplayers.com 

Adults $18, Students/seniors $15 

 

Meet the cast:

Alonzo: John Woodson

Bombalurina: Lara Williams

Bustopher Jones /Skimbleshanks: Paul Reeves Leopard

Carbucketty: Lauren Stacks

Cassandra: Erica Millarc

Demeter: Karen Christensen

Electra: Katie Weant

Grizabella: Jenny Carroll

Jellylorum / Griddlebone: Brittany Currie

Jennyanydots / Gumby: Wendy Weant

Quaxo/Macavity: Dairon McGraw

Mungojerrie: James Woodson

Munkustrap: Ben Henley

Old Deuteronomy / Gus / Growltiger: Traven Harrington

Plato: Daniel Brown

Rumpleteazer: Ashlyn Keller Sumner

Sillabub: Brooke Baldwin

Tantomile: Leah Campion

The Rum Tum Tugger: Charlton Alicea

Victoria: Ava Drexel

Mr. Mistofelees: Jim Reynolds

 

WINNER of 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score

WINNER of 2 Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical

 

Producing partners: Ed Brown and Dr. Frank Shafer

 

 

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