For the last 15 years, The Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts has brought some of Broadway's most loved musicals to Reno. Last Friday, November 6, the 15th season of the Pioneer Center's Broadway Comes to Reno opened with a three-day, five-show performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, "Cats." To celebrate my mother's birthday, my brother, sister, and I took her to the opening performance of the play she had not seen in more than 20 years.
Not your typical point-to-point storyline, "Cats" is based on the 1939 collection of whimsical poems, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, by T.S. Eliot. Through the loose story, the audience is introduced to various Jellicle Cats and their individual quirks and eccentricities. Characters include the incorrigible Run Tum Tugger, wise Old Deuteronomy, the trouble making Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer, and of course, the most clever and cunning, Mr. Mistoffelees.
Exceptional dancing and singing defined the performance, and tasteful special effects were a nice surprise. The standout performance was, with little surprise, the ubiquitous "Memory" by the outcast, former glamour cat, Grizabella.
While Sunday, November 8 was the last day of "Cats" in Reno, Pioneer's Broadway season features five more musicals: "The Wedding Singer," January 15-17; "Avenue Q," February 26-28; "The Drowsy Chaperone," March 26-28; "Stomp," April 16-18; and "The Wizard of Oz, May 14-16.