Last night as I walked into the Palace lobby for the first night of CATS, I remembered all the excitement I felt years ago when I first saw the show when it was on its first national tour. I remember Opening Night at the National Theater in D.C. and I could barely contain myself. I loved T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. (And cats in general-I grew up in a big old house where cats were necessary part of the family due to the Bay and its proximity to critters). I was the first to jump to feet for the standing ovation and then rushed over to the Opening Night Party at the Pension Building. I have to be honest…I wasn’t a guest. I was working the party. I checked in the VIPs at the door – congressmen, senators and the most dreaded of all, lobbyists. The whole party buzzed with the amazing innovative staging and story.
Later that week the press agent on the show let me stand at the back with my three-year old daughter in my arms for part of the first act. I know, strictly forbidden, but he was an old friend and I don’t think anyone saw us except the “cats” who ran up down the aisles and danced with audience members – another new and unusual concept. One “cat” grabbed my daughter and danced for a few seconds at the back of theatre with her. Tonight, when she sees CATS (for the fifth or sixth time) she will probably stay in her seat for the performance but she will also relive the thrill of seeing CATS for the very first time.
The best part is that my daughter doesn’t remember that she wrote her first play the next day and told everyone in the line at the bank about PIGS the musical. Apparently everyone in the orchestra would get to marry a pig at intermission.