Among musical theatergoers, the musical Cats evokes strong opinions.
Although it is an internationally acclaimed musical composed by the
celebrated Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, not all thespians take pleasure in this
musical. Love it or hate it, San Diego Junior Theater did a commendable job of
presenting this demanding piece to the audience. Students showcased their triple-threat abilities emphasizing
dance, as Cats is a predominately
“dancer-demanding” show. Based on T.S.
Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” these “Jellicle” cats enlighten
the audience on the different variety of cats that populate their neighborhood.
The entire ensemble of cats and “kittens” spent most of their time on the
stage, which was impressive considering the physically and vocally demanding
elements of this show.
This high-energy production contains some extraordinarily
entertaining dance numbers that were superiorly choreographed by Steve Anthony.
The choreography was ideal for the physical illustration of the cats and
thoroughly highlighted the actors’ abilities.
Musical numbers that particularly stood out was the opening “Jellicle
Songs for Jellicle Cats”, “Jellicle Ball” and “Macavity the Mystery Cat.” These
ferocious felines executed a mature score and possessed superior vocal
abilities that reverberated throughout the entire house.
David Siciliano delivered a solid performance in his role as
Munkustrap. He exuded much charm, personality and strength on stage with his
exceptional vocals and great dramatic acting abilities. Jacob Sampson, as Rum Tum Tugger, gave a
commanding performance with brilliant vocals and charisma, especially in his
self-titled number “The Rum Tum Tugger.”
Another standout element of the show was the amazing
orchestra complemented by the sound design (Robin Whitehouse), which
highlighted the actors during the huge production numbers. The sets (Tony
Cucuzzella) were a creative combination of Junior Theatre’s originality and the
traditional Broadway set, which was innovatively used by all actors throughout
the dance numbers and scenes. Cats were interspersed in all areas of the stage
including standing on cars, fences, trashcans and couches. The lighting, designed by Matthew Novotny,
effectively highlighted the actors and created dramatic moods during
significant songs and scenes. The costumes (Walter Allen) were tremendously
inventive and believably transformed the actors from humans to felines.
Victoria the White Cat (Cleo Person) gave a highlight
performance with her astounding dance skills (she was always a standout during
the ensemble numbers.) Katlerli Crail gave an amazing performance as
Bombalurina with her non-stop stage presence and strong vocal performance. She
was consistently physically committed to the role. Maddie Baldwin, as Grizabella, gave one of the most memorable
vocal performances of the night. When the long awaited 11th hour
ballad “Memory” arrived, Baldwin presented a show-stopping and spine-tingling
performance. Arguably the most
recognizable song in the show, Baldwin’s presentation of “Memory” was
Veteran theatergoers, and first-time attendee’s
alike, are sure to be thoroughly entertained by the top-notch production that
the students at San Diego Junior Theatre present with their premier of Cats.
24 - November 9, 2008
National Youth Theatre
by Ken Jacques.
~ Cast ~
Mr. Mistoffelees- Robert V. Turner
Jennyanydots- Marianne Zumberge
Mungojerrie- Julian Montijo
Rumpleteazer- Olivia Puckett
Gus the Theater Cat- Ryan Luster
Old Deuteronomy- Alex Dunbar
Bombalruina- Katerli Crail
Munkustrap- David Siliciano
Demeter- Lauren Green
Grizabella- Maddie Baldwin
Macavity/Rumpus Cat- Jake Fineman
Rum Tum Tugger- Jacob Sampson
Jellylorum- Rachel Liuzzi
Skimbleshanks- Dylan Hoffinger
Bustopher Jones- Morgan Hollingsworth
Victoria the White Cat- Cleo Person
Jemima- Marina Inserra