As most of you already know I am a lover of the theater. In the past 12 months I have seen Les Miserables, Mamma Mia, Jesus Christ Superstar, and now this past week I saw Cats. What do these four plays have in common? Lets see, oh yes THEY’RE ALL MUSICALS! Because I love music too, and dance, and live stage. So if you are like me, Oslo is the place to be. At least here in Norway. We have a little over 6 theaters in the local area, mostly kept in the classic style. And if you are a dancer or an actor Oslo is also the place to be because it is here we have the best directors, and the best opportunities on the scene.
Based on “Old Possums Book of Practical Cats” by T. S. Elliot, Cats first opened in the West End in London in 1981 and has been one of the most popular musicals ever since. The London Production ran for 21 years, and on Broadway Cats ran for 18 years in a row! And when you see it you can understand why, in fact I have seen it twice myself. Since it has been seen around the world and translated into over 20 different languages (including Norwegian).
The story of the play is about a family of Cats, which call themselves the Jellicle cats and begins by introducing some of the Cats and what a Jellicle cat is. A cat with a soul. Each year on this night the Jellicle cats come together for the Jellicle ball. At the ball the oldest and wisest cat chooses one cat who will on this day be reborn (because as you know cats have 9 lives.)
The story becomes more exciting when a strange older female cats enters the scene and is shunned by the Jellicle cats. One quickly gets the idea though that she is not as unknown to them as she seems to be, and she is in reality a Jellicle cat which has left the family for many years and now has come back to the Jellicle ball. The plot thickens 🙂
In this video clip it explains the story of what a Jellicle cat is. It gives a good impression of how Cats is throughout the production. Most impressive is the dance in Cats. Every little girl who dances dreams of one day getting into a stage production of cats, and the two little girls I escorted to the theater were no exception. They hung on every note, every movement, after the break when the cats were crawling around the audience on all fours they even got up close contact with the actors and they were totally thrilled! I think it was even more fun to see the production with these two little girls because they were just the right age. I had two girls who I follow up on my job with me, 10 and 12 years old and they had so much fun going to a real grown up production.
And of course this is the most famous song from Cats, Memory. Oh I just previewed this before posting and I swear I still get goose bumps and tears in my eyes. Heck with little girls – I want to be able to sing and dance like they do, and I’m a bit over 40! That is exactly the magic of Cats, it doesn’t matter if you are 10 or 100 its just as beautiful for everyone.
I’m sure I could see Cats 20 times and still be as fascinated by the music and the dance, and how demanding it must be to play in this production, having both to sing perfectly and dance perfectly, and do it several times per week! Amazing!!