To me, every black-and-white tuxedo feline was a Jellicle Cat. I thrilled to the daring exploits of the elusive villain Macavity, never to be found at the scene of any crime. Like any sometime cat-owner, I was quite familiar with the vicissitudes of the willful Rum Tum Tugger, who is “always on the wrong side of every door.” And I loved Judy Collins’ version of the play’s heartbreaking signature ballad (one of the few lyrics in it not written by Eliot himself), “Memory.”
But “forever” wasn’t quite long enough: Being married at the time to someone who was convinced that he wouldn’t like it, and hesitant myself to spring for the price of a Broadway ticket as a solo outing, I never made it to the show. Stupid, really; I should have just borrowed some friend’s child for the evening and gone.
Luckily, I now have a chance to redeem myself from these old regrets – and so do you, if you also haven’t seen it yet: Cats is coming to the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck (CPAR) this weekend. Lou Trapani is the producer, Laurie Sepe-Marder directs, with musical direction by Paul and JoAnne Schubert and an ensemble cast of mostly Center regulars, notably Allison Fuqua and Josiah White.
On the reasonable assumption that a local production of Cats will bring out the region’s pet-lovers for an evening, the Center is partnering with the Dutchess County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DCSPCA) to host a fundraiser on opening night. Tickets are $40 and include admission to a private cocktail party and conversation with the cast following the performance this Friday, February 11. Net proceeds benefit the animals sheltered at the DCSPCA.
For the rest of the musical’s run – Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. from February 12 through 27 – ticket prices are $24 for adults and $22 for seniors and children. Tickets for Cats can be ordered by visiting www.centerforperformingarts.org or by calling the box office at (845) 876-3080. Box office hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Also coming up this week at CPAR is a kids’ matinee by the Puppet People this Saturday, February 12 at 11 a.m., presenting a marionette version of the Russian folktale (and popular ballet with music by Igor Stravinsky) The Firebird. Tickets are $9 for adults and seniors, $7 for children. Then, at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 16, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Shakespeare LIVE! Company will perform a rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream intended for school groups, grades 3 through high school. Tickets are $8 each and reservations are required for the Shakespeare production; call (845) 876-3088, extension 13 to make arrangements. CPAR is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck.