My childhood impression of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats was that it was terrifying, but now that I’ve grown up, I realize Cats is also awesome: Webber’s stylish and bizarre musical is based on T.S. Elliot’s An Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and tells the story of a cat tribe called the Jellicles, on the night they must make what’s called the “Jellicle Choice,” in which a cat called Old Deuteronomy decides which of them will ascend to the Heaviside Layer, which is a sort of like cat heaven.
It sounds crazy, as it very well should. Yet seeing as Cats is the winner of seven Tony Awards, the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical, and was one of the longest-running productions both on Broadway and London’s West End, I think we can safely cut this kookily genius production some slack. Plus, Cats is back in vogue again, with an upcoming revival on the West End and a touring show in the works as well this year. But why wait around for that when Kelrik Productions has got a homegrown show opening at Unity Church on Friday, Jan. 18?
For $20 (adults) or $14 (kids), you can witness the Jellicle Ball and all its feline attendees: George Gorrindo as Old Deuteronomy, the cat patriarch; Jeff Larsen as the magical Mr. Mistoffolees; Travis Nefores as the flirtatious Rum Tum Tugger; Larry Kaml as “theater cat” Gus; Hollie Clark as the saucy Bombularina; Lizz Premer as narrator Munkustrap; and Makenzie Hunt as Grizabella, a former glamour cat who’s since lost her sparkle.
Kelrik’s staging of Cats is directed and choreographed by Zach Johnson, with musical direction by Lacey McNamara and costume and set design by Artistic Director Erik Austin.
Tickets to the show are currently on sale and can be bought at Cheap Thrills, 563 Higuera St. in downtown San Luis Obispo, or at kelrikproductions.org. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m., from Jan. 18 through Feb. 3. Unity is at 1490 Southwood Dr. in San Luis Obispo.