My daughter has a big love for the musical Cats. I was fortunate enough to see it as a kid with my extended family. I bought the movie of the Broadway play for my daughter when she was small.
She loves Cats. I have a feeling the musician in her loves Andrew Lloyd Webber. Can you be a latent Andrew Lloyd Webber fan? As a musician, my daughter loves musicals and is constantly searching for “beautiful harmonies.”
My backstory with Musicals
My connection with musicals started in middle school. The school offered a field trip every year to New York City to see a musical. My first was The Sound of Music. The show that made the biggest impact on me was Miss Saigon. I still remember that helicopter and my amazement as it came out on stage.
Videos of that helicopter don’t do it justice. The scale and the shock of a helicopter in the theater, especially as a fairly new and young theatre-goer… the impressions still linger in my memory.
I found this video on YouTube about making the helicopter, apparently its designers were overwhelmed too.
The Building of the Miss Saigon helicopter
So I’ve seen a fair number of Broadway shows, though none really of my own choosing. Our middle school music teacher, Mr. Birgenstock, had us listen to a lot of musics oh records in the music room and he gave us the lyric sheets to follow along.
My musical ear is tin, but I still have a large soft spot for musicals. Let me see if I can list the musicals we studied in middle school in the late 1980s:
- Jesus Christ Superstar
- Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat
- Chess (still my all-time favorite)
Nope, can’t remember them. Darn.
Opening night of Cats
So, back to Cats. We had a rough week in this household and our holiday plans keep shifting.
Our evening at the holiday light display at the local zoo fell through and I worked late so I asked the teenager if she wanted to go see Cats. Now she’s made it a point to bring up every possible opportunity to go see Cats for the last week.
I didn’t have to ask. I knew she wanted to see Cats.
We skipped dinner and went straight to the 7:10 show.
They did an amazing job. I didn’t look at the cast before I went so I had a lot of fun asking, “is that Judi Dench?” (She’s one of my favorite actresses. I had my hair cut like hers once. Modeled after M. I think in Casino Royale.) Is that Ian McKellan? (And my daughter: “That’s the girl from Pitch Perfect.”)
The costumes were amazing. The dancers lithe and incredibly feline. The pacing was way better than the Broadway show. And they even added some plot to give it more of a linear story line.
The set was delightful, full of detail and fun cat puns. I felt like I wanted to frolic on those sets. Seeing people scaled down to cat size was a visual treat.
And the music pleased my daughter.
I had to keep shushing her to keep her from belting the songs out with the actors.
Bottom line, if someone you love wants to see Cats and you are hesitant because you’re not a fan, it shouldn’t be a painful experience for you. They did a nice job. It’s also fairly short.
Dinner at Rocco’s
It was about 9:15 when we left the theatre so I stopped at Rocco’s Pizza on the way home.
I spent most of my newspaper career in downtown Phillipsburg so when I saw Rocco’s light on, I knew we had to stop. The teen said it looked kind of creepy on the outside, but she knew to trust me.
I haven’t had much of a social or professional life in the last ten years, so when I told Mike, the owner, that we hadn’t seen each other in a decade he needed some convincing.
He had three slices left and heated them up and we ate them in the car.
Mike, if this makes it to you via the internet or Facebook or Phillipsburg word-of-mouth, you made my daughter very happy.
“I haven’t had real pizza in ages. This isn’t even greasy,” she said.
“Mom, this pizza is the sh*t.”