'Cats' opens tonight at the Dixie

Friday, April 18, 2014
Cast members of "Cats" are pictured on the Dixie stage during the dress rehearsal this week.

By Karen Hall


Would you believe your friends and neighbors, the people you see every day, could put on a really famous musical? With almost continuous singing and dancing, and a set that has totally transformed the old Dixie stage?

Well, they can, and they have.

Just go to see "Cats" and it will make you believe that Marshall County has the best, and biggest, pool of talent in the state.

Though you'll have to look closely to recognize the actors: they're all perfectly made up as cats.

The show opens tonight at 7 p.m. and there's another performance Saturday night.

Then the cast gets time to rest up before next week, when "Cats" will be performed every day from Thursday, April 24, to Monday, April 28. Don't just think about it -- pick a day and get your tickets, they are selling out fast.

There are 32 adults and 10 children in the cast, and five of the county's best singers in the orchestra pit.

Director David Sanders has gone all out with this production: there are wonderful special effects, and the costumes came from Norcostco of Atlanta. It's by far the most ambitious show ever put on at the Dixie, and, judging from the dress rehearsal, it's going to be a great success.

When you get home after the show, look at your program to see the names of all the individuals who worked on the production, and the numerous people and businesses who contributed financially and otherwise.

The musical director is Elise Dumser, and the choreographer is Julie Taylor Plott.

"Cats" is full of singing and dancing, 21 numbers to be exact, and you'll be amazed by the fearless athleticism of cast members, as well as their talent. Who knew we had so many tap dancers?

"Cats," with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and lyrics based on the poems in "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot, opened in London in 1981, and on Broadway the following year. The London production ran for 21 years, and the Broadway production for 18 years, both setting new records. It has been performed around the world, and translated into more than 20 languages.

Wikipedia summarizes the plot of "Cats" for us: "The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as 'the Jellicle choice' and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life."

There are a lot of captivating songs in "Cats," but only one is often sung on its own, the haunting "Memory," which has been a favorite ever since Elaine Paige first sang it in London. Director Trevor Nunn wrote the lyrics for "Memory," based on an Eliot poem called "Rhapsody on a Windy Night." "The Moments of Happiness" is another song whose lyrics are not from "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," but come from a passage in Eliot's "Four Quartets."

So, support the Marshall County Community Theatre, and go see "Cats." You'll be pleased, amazed, and thoroughly entertained.