Jan 17, 2013 4:15 PM by Dan Shadwell
For awhile, CATS was the longest running show on Broadway, winning seven Tony Awards. Now a local production of the hit musical is presenting three performances over the next three weekends--Nine lives, if you will.
It's nearly impossible to watch the show without thinking about how the actors mimic movement so identifiable as feline and the director says they spent lots of time on that. "Cats are so... in their body," explains Zach Johnson. "Everything's in their back and you can see their muscles moving throughout everything and so that was one thing we really worked on a lot--trying to engage the whole body and never leaving that from the top of the show to the end of the show."
George Gorrindo plays the senior character in the show, "Old Deuteronomy."
"My character is so dignified," he explains, while shrugging his shoulders and arching his back, ".. that I find myself kind of doing this in my everyday life. Also, he is old, so he needs help around, so Munkustrap, my right hand man here, helps me to get around stage."
Make-up is a big part of the cast preparation and while they work from images to get the cat mugs just right, it doesn't always go exactly as planned...
"This was a mess-up," Lizz Premer says, pointing to a dark line she'd drawn over her left eye, extending to the top of her forehead. "So I had to do it on the other side." The result of her symmetrical fix works perfectly and the audience is unlikely to notice any flaws... even with a show this size, staged in a relatively intimate space.
"Yeah, you really have to be a triple threat for this show, like sing, act, and dance," says artistic director, Erik Austin. "A lot of people of all different ages came out to audition for this show and our director was able to cast a really good mix of people."
Appropriately, the producers are partnering with the Woods Humane Society to promote spaying and neutering and they'll be collecting donations for those programs.
"CATS" runs for the next three weekends at Unity San Luis Obispo, with the first show tomorrow night.
Unity is located off Johnson Road in San Luis Obispo.
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