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'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews

'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews

FANtomFollies Profile Photo
FANtomFollies
#1'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 9:03am

Did anyone see this last night? I'm wondering if they are actually singing or lip-syncing to a recording? Any changes to the score? 

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TheatreFan4
#2'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 9:07am

FANtomFollies said: "Did anyone see this last night?I'm wondering if they are actually singing or lip-syncing to a recording? Any changes to the score?"

Of course they're singing, it's not a Drag Show. Reportedly there's House and Ballroom Beats mixed into the orchestrations but not any overhauled arrangements.

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someoneinatree2
#3'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 12:59pm

I was there last night! Definitely sung live, and the ensemble as a whole sounds full and strong when they all sing together (Shereen Pimentel is giving probably the best soprano vocals I've ever heard on this score, btw, and that soprano line gets pretty damn high). The score sounds like it usually does, with some added ballroom beats during some of the dance breaks and category walks, as Theatrefan mentioned. They blend seamlessly (and often thrillingly) into the show.

The production itself is a wild party, and the audience was lively and supportive last night, which probably added to my reaction. I feel like the conceit of the show parallels ball culture rather naturally (contestants competing for an ultimate prize; participants being given new or multiple names; p*ssycats and catwalks...), and there are some clever reinterpretations that are delightful and breathe fresh life into the show. Munkustrap is now the MC during the various categories. Deuteronomy now sits on a throne at the judges panel near the end of the catwalk. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer are a troublemaking, cheating team in the duo category. Skimbleshanks is an MTA conductor (hilariously entertaining moment). Gus is played by Junior of the legendary House of LeBeija, which makes the moment where he sits to regale the stories of his youth quite poignant.

Other stuff isn't as clear or successful, and if you're trying to wrap your head around the storyline of the musical (I know, I know), this is not the production that's going to clear anything up. The police arrive to arrest Macavity (Antwayn Hopper, with major star presence), but they latch onto Old Deuteronomy for some reason instead, and Macavity becomes the one to lead the charge to save him? And there were some clear technical wrinkles that I have no doubt will get ironed out.

Overall, it's a fun night, and it's exciting to see something new, engaging, and relatively thought-provoking come out of a show that Andrew Lloyd Webber famously said is...just about cats. Some excellent, genuine voguers in the cast, too, though I wish they had more room to breathe and really show off their artistry.

Dan6
#4'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 1:08pm

Any cuts? Are "Growltiger's Last Stand" and "The Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles" in this version?

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inception
#5'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 1:25pm

Is Mr. Mistoffelees still costumed in black & white, like a tuxedo?


...

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someoneinatree2
#6'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 1:25pm

No Growltiger or Pekes and Pollicles. Everything else seemed to be intact.

nasty_khakis
#7'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 3:11pm

Which melody is used for Mungojerry and Rumpleteaser? Webber seems to like switching them back and forth.

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quizking101
#8'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 3:31pm

A few things I heard:

- Sydney Harcourt is cavorting in a jockstrap during Rum Tug Tugger and it’s quite a sight,

- Andre’s Old D wig is HUGE!

- The cast has posted on Instagram pleading patrons to not post anything on social media, at least during previews, since things are still being worked out and part of what has appeared is spoiling the live experience of it all.


Check out my eBay page for sales on Playbills!! www.ebay.com/usr/missvirginiahamm

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Lot666
#9'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 3:41pm

someoneinatree2 said: "I was there last night!..."

Based on your experience and the general audience reaction, would you care to speculate as to the likelihood of this extending again (I likely won't get to NY until November) or transferring to Broadway?

 


==> this board is a nest of vipers <==

"Michael Riedel...The Perez Hilton of the New York Theatre scene"
- Craig Hepworth, What's On Stage

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Lot666
#10'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 3:43pm

quizking101 said: "A few things I heard:

- Sydney Harcourt is cavorting in a jockstrap during Rum Tug Tugger and it’s quite a sight"


Yowsah. devil


==> this board is a nest of vipers <==

"Michael Riedel...The Perez Hilton of the New York Theatre scene"
- Craig Hepworth, What's On Stage

pathman2
#11'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 3:53pm

What’s the runtime? I’m seeing this next Saturday night and couldn’t be more excited, especially after this first report! Thanks!!!

Updated On: 6/14/24 at 03:53 PM

inception Profile Photo
inception
#12'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 4:41pm

So which is it?  You respect their wishes or you go and get us all googling " Sidney Harcourt jockstrap" ?



quizking101 said: "A few things I heard:

- Sydney Harcourt is cavorting in a jockstrap during Rum Tug Tugger and it’s quite a sight,

- Andre’s Old D wig is HUGE!

- The cast has posted on Instagram pleading patrons to not post anything on social media, at least during previews, since things are still being worked out and part of what has appeared is spoiling the live experience of it all.
"

 


...
Updated On: 6/14/24 at 04:41 PM

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WldKingdomHM
#13'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 5:11pm

Wish this was on tdf

ACL2006 Profile Photo
ACL2006
#14'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 7:14pm

It appears to be selling well, but I don't think this would sell on Broadway if it were to transfer.


A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.

RW3
#15'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/14/24 at 10:31pm

According to Sydney Harcourt’s Instagram, Betty Buckley was at the first preview yesterday. 

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BJR
#16'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 7:48am

ACL2006 said: "It appears to be selling well, but I don't think this would sell on Broadway if it were to transfer."

It's definitely selling well, and those tickets ain't cheap! I think the curiosity and word-of-mouth gimmick factor cant be ignored on this one. If it's good, it could be a big commercial hit.

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ShowBro
#17'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 8:09am

I went to a mini-ball in HK on Sunday night in partnership with CATS: The Jellicle Ball. The show sponsored some of the categories and a few of the cast members were there and competing. They were handing out fans that everyone got that said “PURRR! Jellicle Cats Come Out Tonight” and I think this was an ingenious outreach into the younger ballroom community. For sure they are exploring all avenues to increase interest in this show and I admire their creativity in doing so. 

KevinKlawitter
#18'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 8:57am

BJR said: "ACL2006 said: "It appears to be selling well, but I don't think this would sell on Broadway if it were to transfer."

It's definitely selling well, and those tickets ain't cheap! I think the curiosity and word-of-mouth gimmick factor cant be ignored on this one. If it's good, it could be a big commercial hit.
"

I'm inclined to agree.  Cats as a property is already known to be a money maker (that bizarre movie aside) and advertising a bold new take on it - one whose history as received a good deal of commercial exposure lately through stuff like Pose, no less - could draw in a whole new audience as well. Add to that the level of talent in the cast and I could see this being a successful transfer if it were to go to Broadway.

Updated On: 6/15/24 at 08:57 AM

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Kad
#19'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 10:41am

Flyers for this are ubiquitous at queer nightlife venues throughout the city- and not just the typical Hell’s Kitchen bars. They’re really trying to push this to a wider crowd. 


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."

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TheatreFan4
#20'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 12:52pm

There's one picture of Andre's wig in the last pic on this Insta post

https://www.instagram.com/p/C8PUk4KOTjL/?igsh=MWF5cTc2ODF6d3ZjdQ==

 

Just... ughhhhh... this is gonna be so good. 

PegasusOasis
#21'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 2:48pm

Do they let you bring plastic water bottles into this venue? I’ve had amazing luck at Broadway venues lately, which saves so much money. Thanks! 

chrishuyen
#22'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 3:30pm

I LOVED this last night, and I have no real complaints outside of a couple small preview issues that I'm sure will get fixed over the run.  The presentation absolutely worked for me, and the crowd was insanely energetic (they also encourage responding in the moment rather than adhering to traditional theater etiquette)--could be because it's early in previews, but I really think this will take off, and I heard multiple people in the lobby talking about coming back again.  I won't spoil too much of the details, but I thought the whole thing was thrilling and it was so exciting to see what they had to offer at every turn.  

It may not be the show for you if you want to hear every single word of the score being sung (since sometimes the crowd drowns out the lyrics), but they use the songs to great effect, and the crowd response never seemed inappropriate (ie people were quiet during the more sentimental ballads and were more rowdy during the "party" numbers).  I'm not really sure what the different versions of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer are, but it sounded pretty similar to what I recall from the OLC.  All the songs sounded pretty intact with maybe some more extended dance breaks (where they added club beats), at least compared to the cast album (I'm not sure how it compares to the dance breaks as done in the actual show).

I only have a passing familiarity with ballroom culture (I have yet to watch Paris is Burning), but I still felt like I could understand the competitions and most of the categories (I didn't realize until later that a lot of the categories used are pretty standard), though it did take me a song to realize what was happening, so I missed some of the details in Gumbie Cat.  But it was really cool to see legit voguers mixed in with classic musical theater actors, and everyone seemed to be having a blast, so I think you could still go to this with little to no experience with ballroom and enjoy it.

I think the show flowed really well and there were lots of little details that really added to the experience.  It really "made sense" and it was interesting to see some of the backstories that were able to be expressed in the show for the characters.  I didn't have an issue with the Macavity/Deuteronomy stuff so I'm not sure if they made some changes or if I was maybe at a better angle to see what was happening (details in the spoiler block).  The Grizabella arc was also pretty well done (even if some of the details were vague), and Memory and the subsequent Journey to the Heaviside Layer really packed a punch.

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

It seems like Macavity was caught for stealing a bunch of the clothes he had, triggering a police raid on the ball.  Deuteronomy as the leader decided to protect him and the others by taking the fall for it, pretending that he was the one who had stolen everything, which resulted in him getting arrested instead, which is why Macavity feels so guilty.

For seating, we were sitting in row B of the cabaret tables which is elevated a bit (you can easily see the floor of the stage).  Row A is on the ground below the raised stage, and row C is on the same level as row B but with high tops and on the other side of a walkway.  Personally, I thought that if you're going to do cabaret tables, row B would be the best (there's also some minor interaction with the actors at just about all the tables too I believe, though no real participation required if you're averse to that).  Even the back of the orchestra looked a lot closer than I would've expected from the seating chart, so I really don't think there's a bad seat (from house left there was one short moment we couldn't fully see, but it wasn't hard to figure out what was happening, so it didn't feel like a hindrance).  I think being somewhere near the middle of the runway would be the best seating, as they do project some things on the back wall upstage (not completely necessary to see fully but definitely adds to the experience) and Andre de Shields sits in front of the orchestra section, usually with his back to the audience there, so sitting along the runway allows you to see his facial expressions throughout the show.

The costumes were spectacular (there's a few curtain call videos floating around social media if you want to see them), and we remarked on how nice it was that you could actually differentiate the different cats at a glance (I had no idea Jellylorum sang on so many of the numbers).  Mistoffelees is not in a tuxedo, and I don't think any of the costumes really harken back to their traditional getup at all.  Also many characters walk in multiple competitions so they'll have different costumes accordingly.

The show runs around 2 hours 30 minutes.  I took a picture after the curtain call at 10:38 and it definitely started at least a few minutes late.  There's a security/bag check but about the same as Broadway (so yes you can bring in a water bottle).  There's a slight bottleneck in getting to your seat since all the seats are upstairs so there's a line for the elevator if you don't want to take stairs.  We also had to track down an usher since there wasn't one posted at the door where we entered, but I think they'll probably figure that out more as the show runs (since this is a different configuration).  The women's bathroom was huge, with no line before or after the show (can't say for intermission but if there was I'm sure it would move quickly). They have two different fans for merch, a shirt, a hat, and an umbrella (with cat ears!).  The fans were $18 a piece, the umbrella $30, and I think the shirt and hat were either $20 or $25 each.

Anyways, I already bought my ticket to the closing show (unless they extend again), and I've been telling all my friends to go see it, so I really could not recommend it more.

guitarperson
#23'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 3:53pm

I saw this last night. May write a more in-depth review later but for now just want to say it was one of the most thrilling and joyous nights of theater I’ve experienced in a long time. Cats has never made this much sense.  Numbers that usually lag like “Bustopher Jones” have become thrilling.   I was expecting the dancing to be incredible (though it surpassed expectations) and the high level of singing is what really surprised me. If I could I would see it at least three times—think it has a lot of potential to extend for a long time, if not transfer. 
 

can confirm—American version of “mungojerry”
 

 

PegasusOasis
#24'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 5:29pm

it's a sing-a-long?? crying

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TheatreFan4
#25'CATS: The Jellicle Ball' at PAC reviews
Posted: 6/15/24 at 5:33pm

PegasusOasis said: "it's a sing-a-long?? crying"

No, but Ballroom is an interactive experience with expected responses from the audience. So it's not going to be your traditional quiet audience the entire time. 


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