BROADWAY WORLD REVIEWS:
CATS at Ocean Professional Theatre Company
by Pati Buehler
A family favorite and once longest running show on Broadway is playing in Barnegat, New Jersey. The Ocean Professional Theater Company is bringing in the talent for this and one of many impressive productions. The strength of this mounting of Cats is its direction and choreography. Seasoned producing artistic director Steve Steiner has the good instinct to bring in a team of directors who have graced the stages in the feline costumes. Both Dodie Pettit (CATS, Phantom of the Opera) and Bill Brassea performed in Cats extensively on Broadway and abroad. Assisting them with the dance moves is Mallory Gladman.
One of the world's best loved musicals and winner of 7 Tony ! Based on 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats' by T.S. Eliot. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, selections include "The Rum Tum Tugger," "The Naming of Cats," and, "Memory."
"Cats was ground breaking in its day for its unique score, sets and costumes making the most unlikely simple idea of cats in a junkyard touch the hearts of millions of people", comments director Dodie Pettit, who 30 years later still remembers all the moves.
This is impressively evident in the amazingly emotional and precise movements of each and every character onstage at every moment. The cast ranges from college students to some veteran artists including Atlantic City Ballet's Caitlyn McElroy performing Victoria cat with incredible grace. Standout performances are offered by David Discenza as Old Deuteronomy, Rick Grossman as Bustopher Jones/Gus/ Growltiger, Matias Stegmann as Rum Tug Tugger, Romain Rachline as Mr. Mistoffeles and a heart wrenching performance that needs to be experienced by Anita Hollander as Grizabella, the glamour cat. Hollander's long list of credits both here and in Europe are evident in her performance.
Sound was a bit sketchy and distant at this performance and lighting misses a few beats. Costumes designs (Jackie Sayles) were impressive for the most part with a few wild heads in the mix. However set designs and props are quite functional as the actions flows flawlessly throughout the production.
Upcoming productions include the return one of the best selling shows at the Jersey Shore " The Buddy Holly Story" as well as Thoroughly Modern Millie, Irving Berlin's I Love A Piano, A closer Walk with Patsy Cline, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and a Holly Jolly Holidazzle.