The Broadway revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber mega-hit CATS begins previews tonight at the Neil Simon Theater.
I have a soft spot in my heart for the show as it was my first big – and I mean BIG – break in theater after moving to NYC in the 80s.
I often joke “I did CATS when it was a good credit!” – meaning that when I did the show it was as part of a brand new company and only a handful of people on the planet had performed in the show at that point. Now that it’s back on Broadway I’m going to have to give that line up I think.
I was the “Magical Mr. Mistoffelees” from 1986-1988 in the national touring company. Quite heady doings for someone from Fort Worth, Texas, who was not yet 22 when I was cast.
I danced my ASS off. I danced so much that I lost 14 pounds in the first month or so, and never gained it back over the entire run.
I learned so much about how to handle a role over a long run (over 800 performances) over two years – stamina, staying in shape, finding new acting moments each night, working with the same actors, and then new actors in the same roles.
I also came to terms with myself as a young, gay man. I fell in love for the first time. I had my heart broken for the first time. Not a single day of which I would ever change. All inside a pretty safe environment of a traveling theatrical family.
It was a wonderful gift. One I’ve never lost appreciation for.
In any case, I’m wishing all those new kitties a fab run. Especially Ricky Ubeda – winner of So You Think You Can Dance – who gets to wear the black and white costume now as “Mistoffelees.” He’s a brilliant dancer and I can’t wait to see him spin!
“So this is this, and that is that,
And there’s how you address – a cat.”
|Me back in 1986 as “the magical Mr. Mistoffelles”|