Hi! I'm CatAnna and you're about to paw through the theatrical section of
my meditative cats' cyberhome.
This is a tribute to our favorite musical Cats which is of course
based on ailurophile T.S. Eliot's wonderful Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
Even though you don't see much
meditation going on onstage in Cats (the producers must have thought that
it wouldn't be
too interesting to an audience of humans) rest assured that when the Jellicles aren't dancing,
singing, performing feats of magic or pouncing on one another, they are deep in meditation on
their ineffable effable Effanineffable Deep and inscrutable singular Names.
This was our Yule card in 2000, the year CATS closes on Broadway (sniff!) The costumes were also
our Halloween garb that year.
Yeah I know the season has passed so apply it to the holiday of your choice :-)
I first saw Cats in 1987 at the Winter Garden Theater in Manhattan. I'd read about this fantastical musical in which
actors transformed themselves into Eliot's Jellicles and was inspired to buy the
Book of the Musical
which is a work of art unto itself. Sketches of costumed otherworldly cats give way to
photos of flesh & blood feline characters. These are not cartoon pussy cats. They have distinct
personalities with individual
points of view and histories and emotions and relationships. The set is a dreamlike marvel.
I bought the sound track which came on 2 LPs... I don't think CDs existed yet. The songs were irresistable.
I had to see this show! When I finally did (with my Mom, another Cats fan) I wasn't disappointed. The Jellicles and their
magical junkyard came to life before my eyes & the show
crackled with energy from start to finish. We had
balcony seats with a great view of the stage. When the cats weren't onstage, they often slinked
around the fringes of the audience. And the performances onstage were one star turn after
another. It's hard
to single out anyone but I was especially impressed with Mistoffellees. They were all marvelous.
But it was Grizabella as played by the late great Laurie Beechman* who really touched my heart. When she was finally accepted
back into the tribe and transcended to the Heaviside Layer... well that was a four handkerchief
experience! Anyone who knows what it is to feel like an outsider can easily identify with Griz.
And the older I get, the more deeply the Memory of Grizabella and of all the splendiforous cats haunts me.