The most famous musical, Cats, returned to Portugal with shows at Sagres Campo Pequeno in Lisbon, and on the 24th of February, at the Super Bock Arena in Porto, the musical that, with the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber, continues to conquer audiences all over the world. the world.
Cats premiered on May 11, 1981, at the New London Theater where it was on the scene for 21 years, on Broadway the success was repeated, the musical, which features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is always fascinating and a phenomenon of longevity, conquering the new generations as well.
Based on the work of TS Eliot “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, Cats is a musical about the life of a group of stray cats the Jellicle, their loves, teasing and pranks, which is confronted with the return of Grizabella, the cat who had the courage to leave the family to see the world but who misses and misfortune bring back. Is she chosen to live a new life?
The Daily Mirror wrote about the musical “timeless music, spectacular settings, and a superb cast”, which is joined by breathtaking choreography, a magical setting, and of course, the unforgettable “Memory”, which leaves everyone surrendered, in a show in English which had subtitles and only suffered from the lack of giant screens so that one could not only hear but see in detail expressions, make-up and all the small details that a room the size of Campo Pequeno only allows those who were in the front rows of the audience.
At the end of the show, the press was allowed to visit the backstage where we met some of the great team that makes this fantastic show happen.
This is how Dane Quixall, resident director of this production, explained to us, succinctly, what happens behind all the magic.
The whole set is made of ‘garbage’ placed strategically around the stage, says Dane that ‘in the London hall, the garbage is literally in the middle of the audience, cats roaming the corridors and various tunnels, which can suddenly appear at the foot of any spectator ‘.
The resident director also says that when they premiere in other theaters, such as Sagres Campo Pequeno and others around the world, they are very restricted to the space of the theater, and the person in charge and his team have only 3 hours to set up the whole scenario so that it is as similar as possible to the original setting (where the play premiered).
After each show, a whole team takes care of all the costumes and wigs used, each actor has 2 suits, each one has only one tail and so there is special care with all the accessories, with the makeup. The production has more than 100 wigs, each cat has 3, treated and sewn hair by hair by a fantastic team that also takes care of the makeup so that everything comes out perfect.
The lighting, sound, and stage maintenance teams restart all the tests with the different instruments, monitors, and elevators so that everything is in order for the next presentation.
One of the questions we asked Nate Quixall was the fact that we know that ‘Cats’ has a live orchestra, conducted by conductor Peter McCarty, but where was it? Laughing, Nate explained that the orchestra was hidden, separated from the cats on purpose so that the height between cats and humans could not be seen. He also explained that the orchestra is located anywhere in the room, behind the scenes, in a props room, or in empty places in the balloons of the rooms, etc. There is a music director who controls the music with the entrance and exit of all the cats, there are also monitors and speakers, both backstage and on stage so that the show does not lose its rhythm. It is said that being backstage in a very cramped and dark space, is like managing traffic control.
Cats is a show not to be missed for its magic, its music, its costumes, and make-up.
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