The Repertory Theatre of the Ozarks (RTO) production of the famed musical "CATS" opens Friday at the WhistleStop Theater on Highway 63 South in Mammoth Spring. The show runs July 7-9 and July 14-16.
"CATS," the musical, was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is based closely on poet T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Eliot was given a posthumous Tony for "CATS." The show won six other 1983 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Costume Design. Debuting in 1981 in London, "CATS" enjoyed 8,949 performances in London and 7,485 performances on Broadway, a record until surpassed by Webber's "Phantom of the Opera." Only last year were the non-professional rights to produce "CATS" released.
While "Memory," sung by Grizabella the former glamour cat, is the best known song in the musical, "CATS" features a total of 21 numbers featuring such diverse characters as two mischievous burglar cats, an old theatre cat, a railway cat, a very proper fat cat, a kindly patriarch cat, a villain cat and a very magical cat.
Janie Crews-Reno of Alton stars as Grizabella. The cast also includes Philip Gantner of Mammoth Spring as Gus the old theatre cat; Howard Elliott of South Myrtle, Ark., as Old Deuteronomy the kindly patriarch cat; Jerrica McFann and Brittany Bearden, both of Myrtle, as Bombalurina and Demeter the twin sexy cats; Felicia Jennings of South Myrtle as Rumpelteazer, a mischievous cat burglar, and also as Jemima, a singing cat; Linda Vincent of Mammoth Spring as Victoria, the cat princess; and Lloyd Curtis Johnson of Thayer as Pouncival, a friendly cat.
RTO's cast of 20 ranges in age from 7 to 68. While most of the cast live within 20 miles of Mammoth Spring and Thayer, some come from as far as Cabool and Fairdealing in Missouri and Pocahontas in Arkansas.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 7 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
Tickets are $10 in advance for adults, $8 in advance for youth 13 and under. Tickets at the door will be $12 for adults, $10 for youth.
Advance tickets are available at Cedar Mall and Spring Dipper in Mammoth Spring, West Plains Music in West Plains, Classic Craft Mall in Hardy, Expressway #2 in Pocahontas, and the Golden Grotto in Jonesboro.