Most everyone knows that cats have nine lives, but what happens when a group of cats receives the chance to compete for a 10th? The MJHS Theatre Department brought this story to life with its last performance of the year, Cats.
In a nutshell, the musical Cats follows the tribe of Jellicle cats who gather together to celebrate the night of the Jellicle Ball. The leader of these cats, Old Deuteronomy, is to choose one lucky cat to journey to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn into a new life.
Each cat performs its special talents to prove that it deserves the 10th life. During all the commotion, Old Deuteronomy is captured by Macavity the Mystery Cat, who later returns to carry out his evil plans in disguise as Old Deuteronomy, only to be battled by Munkustrap.
Rum Tum Tugger asks the Magical Mister Mistoffelees to use his powers to find Old Deuteronomy. When Old Deuteronomy is rescued, Grizabella, a cat who was shunned by the other Jellicles, is accepted back into the tribe and proves herself worthy to take the Journey to the Heaviside Layer.
The show was a huge success, with a full house in attendance all four nights and one standing ovation. One dedicated audience member loved the show so much that she came to watch the performance dressed as Victoria, one of the cats.
MJHS junior, Morgan Butler, who plays a cat named Etcetera in the show, says that this production has been one she’ll always remember. Her favorite part was when Rum Tum Tugger called on Mr. Mistoffelees, but she’ll never forget holding senior Luke Atkins’s hand on the very last night of the show during the final two songs while they both cried.
Butler found that, as this was the last show of the year, the heartbreaking thought of losing the seniors is growing stronger.
“These seniors are like family to me and on that last show, that last night, we all cried and cried because no one will ever understand what that family was like,” says Butler.
It took many hours of hard work to pull the production together. Each costume was handmade and took weeks to paint along with the set, which had to be constructed larger to fit to the size scale of a cat. Each makeup look could take up to an hour and a half to complete. To everyone involved in the show, from the new to the old, Butler says that they were all a blessing to have around helping out and to perform with.
“Every single person involved made a huge impact and we couldn’t have done it without you.”
Despite not having heard of the musical before finding out she’d be performing in it, Butler is incredibly pleased with how the show turned out. She says that, from this experience, she’s learned more than she ever thought she would from a musical about dancing cats.
Butler says,“I learned self love and body confidence. I had new experiences in teaching and choreographing for a musical, and I learned to really look at a piece of art and appreciate it for what it is, no matter how weird.”
Butler encourages anyone who is hesitant to join theater to try it out, because for her, joining theater has been one of the best decisions of her life.
“Our theatre program is about the shows, yes. But it’s also about family and friends and learning life lessons. Our theatre program has shown me what I was meant to do and without the help of everyone in theatre, I’d still be lost. So maybe you can be found in theater too.”