National Youth Arts - ArtsDig - Resource for youth arts
 
Review

 

The Show: 

The Jellicle Cats gather again under the moon to play, to dance, to cause some mischief, to reminisce, and to select one deserving cat for another chance at youth. Itís Andrew Lloyd Webberís and Tim Riceís musical based on T.S. Eliotís Old Possumís Book of Practical Cats, which became a musical sensation and one of the longest running musicals in Broadway history. A musical that introduces us to a number of unusual cats through song and dance highlighted by the wistful ballad to days of lost happiness which may never return, Memory.  

The Production: 

Director Kenny Grossman and his talented group at Spotlight Youth Theatre in Glendale, Arizona had a lot of fun with this one, which translated to a lot of fun for the audience. It begins in Bobby Sampleís cool-looking set: a deserted junkyard that includes the rear of a car jutting out and other standard junkyard paraphernalia lying about, illuminated by a mirror ball providing some starlight where a bunch of cool-looking cats (costumes by Tamara Treat and make-up by Jacob Hamilton, Lindsey Brown, and Vinny Jordon) are about to appear. 

The cast is full of triple-threats that use great dancing, singing, and acting to bring to life numerous cats in both amusing and touching ways. That includes Alex Acosta as a dynamic Munkustrap Ė a young leader of the cats who gets an amusing Jennyanydots going (Ally Lansdowne) and who demonstrates great awe and respect for their wise, old leader Deuteronomy. Philip Amerine is said leader, striking just the right balance of stately and friendly, sonorous vocals, and some nicely understated humor (when everyone starts looking for the mischievous Macavity cat, Deuteronomy starts searching through his humongous fur coat, and another slightly rattled cat appears to fall out of his great folds of fur). Vinny Jordon is both the wily Macavity and Gus, as the latter delivering the goods as an elderly thespian reminiscing on yesteryear and in a hilarious scene with pirate cats as he and Griddlebone (Marley DeGroodt) struggle with romance.  

Elsewhere, Rum Tum Tugger (Tyler Gasper) romances a dozen female felines at a time. Jessica Arnold and Carly Grossman offer a sultry introduction to the bad-boy tomcat Macavity. Ally Lansdowne, Carly Grossman, and Brooke Shobe entertainingly tell the tale of Bustopher Jones. Brielle Amrein delivers a compelling performance as the saddened, taunted, and aged Grizabella, nicely singing Memory joined by Leigh Treat and Alex Acosta. Lynzee 4Manís fantastic choreography is highlighted by Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat, using a rake, fan, trashcan lids, plungers, lights, and umbrellas to put the train in motion with the help of the cast led by Trey DeGroodt, Philip Amerine, and Carly Copp. Carly also lights up the stage alongside Ben Maussouras with a great Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer. Tyler Gaspar leads the cast in announcing Reese Miller who swings in with mesmerizing magic as Mr. Mistoffelees. And the entire cast of all-stars shine with physical charm and remarkable vocals, from their opening number where a huge human shoe thrown at them only pauses them for a moment, to their beautiful finale.

Performed August 26 - September 18, 2011

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 


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Munkustrap: Alex Acosta
Old Deuteronomy: Philip Amerine
Grizabella: Brielle Amrein
Demeter: Jessica Arnold
Coricopat, Ghengis: Tracy Boettcher
Cassandra, Siamese: Daniela Castro
Rumpleteazer: Carly Makani Copp
Griddlebone, Etcetera: Marley DeGroodt
Tantomile, Siamese: Mariella De Angelis
Skimbleshanks: Trey Degroodt
Pouncival: Heather Feliciano
The Rum Tum Tugger: Tyler Gasper
Bombalurina: Carly Grossman
Sillabub, Siamese: Samantha Isely
Macavity, Gus, Growltiger: Vinny Jordon
Jennyanydots, Old Gumbie Cat: Ally Lansdowne
Mungojerrie: Ben Maussouras
Mr. Mistoffelees: Reese Miller
Bustopher Jones, Henry: Conner Morley
Carbucketty, Siamese: Haley Opdycke
Jellylorum: Brooke Shobe
Tumbletrutus, Siamese: Lindsay Tejera
Jimima: Leigh Treat
Victoria: Madison Wesley
Electra, Siamese: Jazmin Williams

Director: Kenny Grossman
Choreographer: Lynzee 4Man
Musical Director: Mark 4Man
Costumes: Tamara Treat
Set Design: Bobby Sample
Make-up: Jacob Hamilton, Lindsey Brown, Vinny Jordon

   

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