‘Cats’ prowls into town

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, “Cats,” will be coming to Logan for the first time this April. The musical, which is based on a series of poems from the “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” by T.S. Eliot, is the longest continuous touring show in U.S. history. “We’re bringing in a touring company, so we’re not creating the show,” said Amanda Castillo, Ellen Eccles Theatre program director. “We’ve hired out a company from New York that is bringing the show.” Since it is not a local production, Castillo said most cast members have Broadway backgrounds. Most Broadway shows do not make their way to the West because of higher expenses, she said. She said most people in Cache Valley have never seen the show, though many have heard the music, especially the song “Memory.” The musical production has toured around 26 countries, 300 cities and has been translated into 10 different languages since it started in 1981, she said. “Cats” is the highest selling show at Ellen Eccles Theatre this season and it has sold the most advance tickets, Castillo said. Besides the show’s original director, Trevor Nunn, and choreographer, Gillian Lynne, the national tour includes four semi-trailers, the orchestra, and 23 people running the show, which is significantly larger than normal shows, she said. The show was initially scheduled in January but postponed until April, due to issues that the touring company had. “They have not gotten enough places that would host them in that week,” said Wally Bloss, Ellen Eccles Theatre executive director. “They had hoped to be in two other places, but they didn’t come through. So they would rather shut the show down for a week, send everybody home and come back at a different time.” Bloss said though the theater had to send emails to those who purchased the tickets for that time frame, most patrons were understanding about the rescheduling and 95 percent of them agreed to exchange the tickets for the April show. “We put this on sale in August, and 60 days before it was supposed to be on stage we had sold 800 tickets,” he said. “A lot of people (who) wait for the last minute will be disappointed.” Bloss said he saw the musical in the mid ’80s at the Kansas City Starlight Theater. He said 4,000 people were in attendance, and the theater was enlarged so performers could dance into the wings of the theater. He said at that time he doubted the music was going to be audible since he was in an outdoor setting. However, the sound was amplified and there were plenty of speakers to keep the music going, he said. “(It was a) great show, the costumes were so interesting because people were dressed up as cats, and it’s just a funny story,” he said. “I enjoyed it a whole lot.” Bloss said in order to get more people in Cache Valley to be interested in live theater, Ellen Eccles Theatre strives to present things that are of interest, top quality, well known and understood.

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