The Jellicle Cats descended on Fallbrook for their latest Jellicle Ball as the Fallbrook Players tackle Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and Tim Rice’s musical based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. It’s one of the biggest productions the group has undertaken, and the result is a monster success that packed in the audience, giving all those packed audience members a magical experience.

Director Allisan Whitman also choreographed the show, and her vision and creativity was clearly embraced by the large and talented cast. You feel electricity, liveliness, and humor from the opening number as the dozens of cats, and little kittens, take over the stage. And they never let up.

It’s a huge ensemble piece, and they all contribute throughout. A few standout scenes include:

* Munkustrap, with great vocals and confident air by Tim Cabal, leading the others with the introduction of a very fun Jennyanydots (Sydney Skidmore), later leading the cast of cats and kittens in a terrific reenactment of The Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles.

* Trevor Sanderson as the cocky Tom cat Rum Tum Tugger hamming it up with style and comical sensuality featuring lots of hip action, blowing some kisses, and a “How you doin’?” to eager female kitty Bombalurina. And Bombalurina doesn’t take it too well when he blows her off. Triple threat Anzy McWha’s Bombalurina adds tons to Tugger and several other scenes with fantastic personality and humor.

* Cody Thompson is a gentlemanly roly-poly Bustopher Jones serenaded by Analicia Hawkins, Sydney Skidmore, and Anzy McWha.

* Noelle Murphy and Jalie Fransway use acrobatics and infectious facial expressions in their entertainingly choreographed Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer.

* Kalin Blackshear evokes respect and love as Old Deuteronomy, and he gets it from the ensemble that clearly adores their beloved leader, their reverence filled with a great mixture of awe and warmth.

* Quinton Walker gives a poignant performance as Gus with realistic trembling as the palsy afflicts his body while his mind and soul reminisces of his happy days of yesteryear, introduced with tender and beautiful vocals by Analicia Hawkins.

* Blaise Wopperer stars as Skimbleshanks the railway cat in a high energy number with excellent train-inspired choreography as the cast helps get the train rolling with corrugated steel, umbrellas, a couple garden rakes, and flashlights.

* Lauren Grant and Anzy McWha are dynamite as they introduce the villainous Macavity (Zach Wikler) who gleefully threatens to ruin the ball.

* Traci McKnight delights as the Magical Mr. Mistoffelees whose repertoire of tricks includes pulling out colorful streamers from an empty box (which the other cats want to play with).

* And Gabriella Barbato gives a gorgeous and emotional performance of the show’s most famous number, Memory, including some vocals by Cianna Garrison, giving the show additional heart.

A seemingly unlimited amount of talent, fantastic costumes and sets modified from San Diego Junior Theatre’s production, and a sense for the humor, emotions, and the frolicsome possibilities of this show make this one of the most memorable productions of Cats you’re going to find.

Performed March 20 - April 5, 2009.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~
Munkustrap: Tim Cabal
Bombalurina: Anzy McWha
Demeter: Lauren Grant
Rum Tum Tugger: Trevor Sanderson
Mungojerrie: Noelle Murphy
Rumpleteazer: Jalie Fransway
Grizabella: Gabriella Barbato
Deuteronomy: Kalin Blackshear
Jellylorum: Analicia Hawkins
Jennyanydots: Sydney Skidmore
Skimbleshanks: Blaise Wopperer
Bustopher Jones: Cody Thompson
Gus: Quiniton Walkler
Victoria: Jennifer Majdick
Jemima: Cianna Garrison
Mr. Mistoffelees: Traci McKnight
Macavity: Zach Wikler
Rumpus Cat: Christopher Ruetton

Jellicle Ballet/Jazz Dance Core:
Maxie Mertens
Kat Majdick
Anzy McWha
Alex Schooner
Zach Wikler
Tessa Fieri
Tressa Barrett
Jalie Fransway
India Isaac
Cody Thompson
Trevor Sanderson
Jennifer Majdick
Emma Rose Keck
Noelle Murphy
Austin Wright
Tim Cabal

Jellicle Tap Core:
Emil Lundqvist
Jalie Fransway
India Isaac
Noelle Murphy
Lindsay Romney
Alex Schooner
Rachel Wilson
Kat Majdick

Jellicle Cats:
Emil Lundqvist
Benjamin Kindel
Austin Holler
Mary Evert
Aisha Lund
Candice Cleland
Jessica Spangler
Christina Swanson
Michele Richardson
Lina Frigge
Sarah Wikler
Madison Gibney
Olivia Sales
Katie Corcoran

Jellicle Kittens:
Sophia Lang
Makenna Lang
Maddix McWha
Cassandra Schwarzfischer
Rebecca Ware
Emily Dutkiewicz
Cecilia Shattuck
Milan Lambert-Magana
Rachel Wilson
Megan McDonald
Rebecca Bowdich
Aidan Cruz Hayek
Amy Loeber

Director & Choreographer: Allisan Whitman
Vocal Director: Donna Kilpatrick
Costumers: Kristin Lundqvist, Maggie Skidmore, Walter Allen
Make-up Coordinator: Terry Davis
Sets: Carl McWha, Mini Lundqvist, Tony Cucuzzella
Light Design: Ashley Jenks
Sound Designer: Jane Stimmel


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