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San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional 
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Tony Winner
Tony Winner
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Current Obsession: CATS the Musical!
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Post San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
Ok, so I'm back from seeing SDMT's CATS! It was awesome! I haven't had such a fun time seeing the show for a long time. The director, James Vásquez, has really turned the material around and brought it back to "The Good Old Days." He's a fan of the show and it really shows.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/mar/18/cats-vasquez-san-diego-musical-theatre-preview/

I don't want to give away all the surprises as both Rumblepurr and CaptWazoo are going at the end of the run. Let's just say that you guys are going to love it! The set is the FCLO one and with my costumes, it looks almost like Troika.

The cast is fun and young and ENERGETIC! They were leaping right off the stage into the aisles, coming around in front row to hang off the stage, right there in your face and at your feet, hissing and pawing. Debbie Prustman as Grizabellla was slightly melodramatic and weepy when she sang both Little Memory and Big Memory. I really didn't care for her that much. Our Pouncival was a girl which was strange but it worked. I felt sorry for the Clent Bowers playing Old D. that the costume is a little too small for him but they were able to make it work.

I especially loved Kyle Adam Hawk as Tumble, and the actor who played Plato/Macavity. They all looked so good up on that stage! It was awesome to see the show played so well by actors who care. They were all into character and has such pizazz! Tumbling, leaping, hissing, dancing.

Image

One of the only things I didn't like was the FAST pace of the songs. They were practically breathless at some times, especially during Jellicle Songs and the Jellicle Ball. They were rushing through the lyics at a breathneck pace, I felt sorry for them. Erin Lewis who is in change of the production and who I was working with about the costumes told me last night that they hardly had any Tech work, so were going into it a little rough, but other than the fast pace, they did very well. Skimble forgot his last lines but it was overlooked, he was the most nervous I could tell. But other than that they all shined!

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And also got a sweet head nod from Munkustrap. Awww...;-)

And at the Intermission...Let's just say: The Gold Old Days are BACK! ;-)

Image

Purrs,
VTWC


Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:50 am
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Post Re: San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
Will be there at the theatre around noon since I bought another seat - D9 - at the Matinee. Will get lunch somewhere close since my walking speed is kinda slow now...

Rumblepurr
The "Old" Writer Cat.

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Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:07 pm
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Post Re: San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
Rumblepurr wrote:
Will be there at the theatre around noon since I bought another seat - D9 - at the Matinee. Will get lunch somewhere close since my walking speed is kinda slow now...

Rumblepurr
The "Old" Writer Cat.


What day? I'll be at the matinee on the 6th.


Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:58 pm
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Tony Winner
Tony Winner

Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:00 am
Posts: 352
Location: Orange, CA
Current Obsession: Cats
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Post Re: San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
Cptn. Wazoo wrote:
Rumblepurr wrote:
Will be there at the theatre around noon since I bought another seat - D9 - at the Matinee. Will get lunch somewhere close since my walking speed is kinda slow now...

Rumblepurr
The "Old" Writer Cat.


What day? I'll be at the matinee on the 6th.

I will be going with Cptn. Wazoo to see Cats on the same day.


Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:19 pm
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Post Re: San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
Sorry - already have been - March 29. The show was fantastic, so enjoy! The cast is top-notch even though this is a non-equity show. Review coming up on my website.

Rumblepurr
The "Old" Writer Cat.

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Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:36 pm
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Tony Winner
Tony Winner
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Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:15 am
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Current Obsession: CATS the Musical!
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Post Re: San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
Seeing the Kitties again today with CaptWazoo and BlackCatSuzy! This is the last time for San Diego Musical Theatre. I LOVED this cast! They were truly awesome! Loved this version of the show. Will post a final review later on tonight.

Purrs,
VTWC


Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:34 am
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Fresh Face
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Post Re: San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
I am SOOOO envious of all you people on the West Coast. I keep finding out about numerous productions of CATS going on out there, many of which look like they are quite good and generally get good reviews from folks who appear to know a lot about CATS. On the other hand, out here on the East coast, CATS productions, at least anything close to decent, are few and far between. One of my very biggest gripes is the costuming. San Diego looks fantastic .... thanx VTWC! Everything out here is just so poorly done. The costumes are drab and generally in no way follow the original production. Colors tend to be mostly brown, black and dull orange. Wigs are just gawdawful! Sets are, in some cases, almost non-existent but, I have always said I can love CATS with just the actors and the costumes. In recent times we have had a production at North Shore Theatre in Beverly Mass. Richard Stafford directed so from that point of view things were fine. It was done as theatre in the round so the "set" was the setting placed around all of us ... OK not too bad. I also saw a production at the Merry Go Round Theatre in Auburn NY (way upstate). for a small theatre they did a very nice job. Jacob Brent directed so once again things were fine from that point of view. Once again the costuming was .... drab and the wigs deplorable.

My next HUGE gripe is the constant editing of the show. I am told local productions hate to go over two hours because the audience can't sit that long ..... that's a bunch of crap! How many millions of people managed to sit through AVATAR (another favorite of mine) for two and three quarter hours WITH NO INTERMISSION! Typically no one does Pekes and Pollicles. Some don't do Growltiger or edit most of it out. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer also get a huge hit. It seems almost everyone edits measures 51 through 92. That's about ONE THIRD of the song!!! My other HUGE gripe with this number was the change from 4/4 and 7/8 to 4/4 and triplets. Richard Stafford told me that decision was made by ALW himself when the new UK tour went out ...... well it sucks that way! Fortunately the Merry Go Round performance I saw had the sense to do it the proper way 4/4 and 7/8.

SO far I have only seen one production where I thought the changes by the director made any sense. Marc Robin first did his production in Chicago. I caught up with it in Akron Ohio and then most recently back near Chicago (Lincolnshire). He makes a MUCH better connection between Sillabub and Griz! When Griz sings Memory at the end of act one, a younger Griz comes out to shadow dance the steps that Griz can't do. It's a great memory taking her back to her bygone days. The cast stays on stage while she sings but no one will go near her except Sillabub tries. ........ BLACKOUT......end act one. Act two ..... blackout then lights up. Everyone is in the same position as at the end of Act one. Old Deuteronomy sings Moments TO Grizablella and then she slinks off stage to the delight of the other cats but with Sillabub trying to get Griz back. There are many other small instances where Sillabub shows her defiance of the way the others are treating Griz.

This is the only instance where I can say someone actually improved on the original show.

I am sad that Troika shut down their tour but they just weren't getting the bookings. I found it really odd that they had trouble getting bookies for more than a few performances. Folks in the US just don't seem to want to commit to having CATS in longer. We had Troika do a one show stop in Morristown NJ.. I called the theatre and told them they were absolutely crazy doing that. They sold out instantly and so did add another performance which sold out instantly. I just don't get it!!!

If anyone has any idea how to get a PROPER production going here in New Jersey PLEASE push! We do have a LOT of CATS alumni here. When CATS was done by the high school in Milburn (where Papermill Playhouse is) it was directed by two CATS alumni and another half dozen stopped by to help out. I'm sure the production was good but, I find the high school productions generally, obviously, don't have the polish with CATS (they seem to do amazing things with other productions though!). I didn't get to see it because I didn't find out about it until way after .... afterall it is 20 minutes from my house!

So .... all you people on the West coast, and in the UK and Europe ..... keep enjoying the fact that you have good productions to go see.

OK ... that's my rant!!!

jellicat


Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:18 pm
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Post Re: San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
Jellicat- Those costumes were made by VTWC! The set is from Fullerton Civic Light Opera in Orange County, CA:

http://www.fclo.classicbroadway.org/ren ... &showid=95

They also have costume rentals, but they're not the same quality. I'm not sure if they'd ever be willing to bring the set to the East Coast. Maybe you should make your own costumes and rent them out!


Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:44 pm
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Fresh Face
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Post Re: San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
Hi Cptn. Wazoo,

Yes ..... VTWC is probably the only one I know who is concerned about keeping the look of the costumes! SHe also does the best with the wigs which is tough considering the lack of Yak hair! Most people tell me they just can't make readily available wigs look like the ones on Broadway. I suppose they also don't like my complaining about them.

I wonder too, if folks here near NYC are trying to distance themselves from the Broadway production as best they can. Perhaps growing up with the Broadway production and then moving to California was a big plus for VTWC

Is anyone going to CLOs production at Benedum in Pittsburgh? Richard Stafford would only tell me that, as an avid CATS fan, I will like it. Well, I'll be the judge of that when I go on July 26th and 27th!!

jellicat


Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:25 am
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Tony Winner
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Current Obsession: CATS the Musical!
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Post Re: San Diego Musical Theatre's CATS regional
Some thoughts....

Sorry, Jellicat that I've not emailed you. I'm right in the middle of moving back from San Diego up to Portland, OR. This move is killing me as it's so stressful right now. I'll try to answer your questions as best as I can...sorry I didn't get back to you earlier.

My costumes are partly authentic from the German Tour, (Berlin 2001) mostly the unitards and most of the specialty. I did not get the Gus coat with the costume buyout, so I had to make his costume from scratch. The Siamese I also made with the help of another costume company from Philadelphia. The Wigs, Warmers, and Tails are all hand-made by me. It took me 4 years to do the whole cast with the quality that I wanted. The wigs are all made of synthetic hair and can be washed and fluff right back up into shape after drying. I just touch them up with floral spray when the colors get dull and faded from the spotlights. The only things that I really want to improve upon are the Gus Coat, the Siamese, (adding in masks with their headdresses) and Mistoffelees. Misto is really lacking in the "star quality" of the costume, and I hope to get that fixed in the next year or so. Also I don't have the props and costumes from Pekes and the Pollicles. I want to partner with a local theatre to perhaps get those costumes finally into the rental package in the next few years. A lot of decoupage! I don't want to just use laundry baskets for the Peke heads, but I may have to economize, but it I can dress it up with a lot of "junk" I think that I can swing it. The only thing is storage space for everything, and the Pekes take up a LOT of room, as I own a few from Bway and Tornoto (original props) and they are huge! I also have to add in about 5-6 more Green Eyes as I don't have the whole cast ready, only half of them go out during the Overture.

Quote:
Perhaps growing up with the Broadway production and then moving to California was a big plus for VTWC


Yes, I've always loved the Bway and Tour versions of CATS here in the USA. I can't get that excited for the UK versions costume-wise. I do like the Asian productions, and the Australian looks as well. I just don't go for the UK version, for one thing, their wigs are too small and all look the same, hardly an differences between them. And the colors are duller, more blocky colors than stripes. I do like the extra characters in the UK versions though, I wish the US versions had several more characters as it would fill out the casts and stage better, I think.

Quote:
I wonder too, if folks here near NYC are trying to distance themselves from the Broadway production as best they can.


I don't think that they want to distance themselves, its just that for a show like CATS the quality of the costumes really shows up how the show is going to run. Almost all the actors I've talked to who have used my costumes, LOVE THEM! They say they can really get into character and they have give better performances. If the actors don't "look good" then it shows in the quality of their performances. And with CATS you really have to throw yourself into the acting to make the audiences believe in thinking these are people who are supposed to look like Cats.

I've not see one of the shows run by Richard Stafford. I would like to very much to see what he brings to the table. I've only done 3 shows now with Dana Salimando (Rumple, Bway 90's) and she really wants the productions to shine. So the cost is not an issue. I think that I offer my costumes for a price way lower than what I really want to rent them for, but I only try to do at least one rental per year, and I'm very selective on who gets to rent my packages. Eventually I will have a "High School" set of just the basic wigs and Jellicle Cats costumes for rental too in the next year or so. It will be different from the professional set but I hope to have them looking at least close to Bway/US tours. I get way too many high school drama teachers asking me to rent my set but I probably will never rent out the professional set to the high schoolers. They wont take care of stuff I way I'd like them too.

During this last rental I lost both the Tugger gloves and one of the Rumple unitards. Thats the first time that happened so it has me miffed. I don't know if it was lost between both San Diego or La Mirada but it soured me on renting again. I will get damages back but that was the first time I lost 2 major items. The Tugger gloves especially. Now I have to make my own version as I only had one pair. So I'm really wondering if I should rent my stuff out again. It makes me want to retire everything. They are still looking around the theater. The only thing I can think of is that the actors took it. *Sigh*

So I hope to have another show out next year maybe again in CA. It just costs the production companies an arm and a leg to have all the stuff shipped out across the country. :-({|= Hee hee! Maybe sometime soon I may rent to a company in New York or Jersey or Penn. Just don't know when that will happen. Now that I'm going to be based up in Portland I have only Eugene and Seattle and Spokane if I want to rent locally. Here's hoping that will happen, I just don't want to loose anything major again.

Purrs,
VTWC


Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:29 pm
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