Monday, July 21, 2008

Things I’ve Never Done Before: Day 1: CATS!

Let me preface this by explaining that I absolutely LOVE musical theater. You may notice that a lot of my songs have a cabaret feel to them, and that's no coincidence.

I love the idea that at any given moment in my daily routine, someone may burst into song, and others may sing backup, and we may all spontaneously erupt into a tap dance. How fun would it be to go to Heine Brothers for your daily cup of coffee and see the baristas dancing and singing and whirling the espresso machine in time to the song they all happen to know?

I lived in New York for over five years, and I saw a lot of Broadway shows. I walked past the Winter Garden Theater practically everyday on my way to work at CBS News, but I never ... not once ... NEVER .. had the urge to see the show that had gone on inside, uninterrupted, for over eighteen years and 7485 performances: CATS! .

Even as a middle-schooler, when all my classmates would return to 8th grade with those obnoxious black t-shirts with the disturbing yellow eyes, I had no interest in seeing CATS.

The Quest

I'm having a birthday on Friday, and I looooove birthdays (much more than I love musical theater). In honor of my birthday, I'm celebrating all week long -- each day, doing something I've never done before.

Yesterday, Sunday, Day One of my Quest ... I went to Iroquois Amphitheatre with Jen and Charles ... to lose my CATS virginity.

And, my, was it painful.

I mean no disrespect to the actors; they were great. Especially Jill Sullivan, with whom I taught swim lessons at Lakeside in the past. She was adorable and danced and sang all over that stage. The others were dandy with their constant paw-licking and back-arching.

But could someone please explain to me how the hell this show could possibly have run for almost Eight THOUSAND performances?!? It's been called a "watershed" musical, and maybe it was innovative at the time ... but then, what was that time... 1981? Sure, it's not Oklahoma!, but then, at least I remember more than one song from O!.

How could the man who wrote Jesus Christ Superstar (love it!), have staged a completely pointless, and totally weird show with slithering dancers pretending to be cats? Even the music was less-than-stellar for Lord Webber. And by the time "Memory" was sung, it just made no sense.

I don't know. I keep reading articles about how groundbreaking this show was and how it paved the way for the modern musicals we know. Maybe I am too young and am taking the show for granted. Maybe it's because I'm a dog person.

But, wow, I totally don't get CATS.

Alas! Quests are not supposed to be easy. Onward! At least I tried something new. What now? I was supposed to get my first haircut this morning, but I canceled my appointment at Joseph's because Stacy Stiletto wasn't there to hold my hand (and the video camera). I wonder what newness today will bring. I hope it's less painful than CATS!

* * *

still... looking for British reading/movie suggestions...

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