Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Twenty-Five Years Later

I don’t like to toot my own horn, but lately, I’ve been living quite a glamorous life.   As a trend-setter, I’m invited to all sorts of openings, events, and theater.   Frankly, I feel a little sorry for your dreary lives, but I hope by telling you about my experiences, you can feel a little bit better about yourselves by just knowing me, and impressing your friends with that information.

Last night I went to the premiere of a new theatrical piece that’s coming over here straight from London.   Most of you are just too "out-of-the-loop" to have heard about this play, but I was given a unique opportunity to see it before the general public.  The piece is quite interesting, as it is a play with music, but rather than a traditional story, it is based on the poetry of a well-known British poet, T. S. Eliot.  The show revolves around a cast of feline characters, so the title is very apt, "Cats."  There are several memorable songs and some surprising special stage effects.  I predict that this play will be quite successful, although I doubt the "Average Joes" who make up my readership will be able to get these exclusive tickets very easily. 

Back to reality —

cats2.jpg

Yes, hell froze over.  I saw "Cats" because someone gave Sophia two tickets.   Actually, I love musicals, but I always promised myself that I would never see "Cats."  It sounded really boring, even though I like the poetry of the anti-Semitic T.S. Eliot.  I wish I could give you a complete review of the show, but I won’t, mostly because I fell asleep in the middle.   How can this thing be running for 25 years?  What the hell was that about?  Some cats meet up and choose which cat deserves to go to heaven?  Are these cats Mormon cats?  That was one bizarre show!

My seeing such an old show makes me think about another issue.  Who can I talk to about this show?  Everyone I know already saw the show fifteen years ago, and it was 10 years old already.  I notice that this is a growing problem with movies and TV shows as well.   With the growth of DVDs and Tivo, fewer people are watching the same shows at the same time, or even on the same night.   What’s going to happen to watercooler talk if half of the office still hasn’t watched last night’s big "Grey’s Anatomy" episode because it’s still on their Tivo. 

Have you ever rented a movie that you haven’t seen, let’s say Forrest Gump, and you loved it.  You’re busting out of your seams wanting to talk about it, but everyone else saw it years ago.  What can you do?  If you went into work the next day and said, "Hey, I saw Forrest Gump last night.  What did you think of it?," everyone would think you’re an idiot. 

Remember the old days, when millions of viewers all watched M*A*S*H together at the same time, including the commercials.

Anyway, I finally saw "Cats"  25 years after it opened.   What did you think of it?

Today on Blogebrity:  Daddy Blogs   (Rude Cactus and Dadcentric)

53 Comments

  1. T.S. Eliot anti-Semitic? He has nothing on Ezra Pound–that old boy made Eliot look like an Orthodox rabbi.

    I refuse to see any musicals on general principles.

  2. Sadly, I’ve never seen Cats. The last musical I saw was Rent, and that was years ago. I’m a little worried about the film version.

    My vote for best musical ever? Jesus Christ Superstar.

  3. Rest assured, you’re not alone. I saw “Cats” two years ago only, around 23 yrs after it opened. My mum watched it with me. She loved it. I can’t figure out why since she does not understand english and thought the costumes were grotesque…..

    I wouldn’t think anyone watching Forrest gump is an idiot. It’sa beautiful movie.

    I watched “The Band Wagon” last week. how about that?!

    Fitèna

  4. I feel the same way Neil. I always watch movies years after they come out. And then bitch because I have no one to discuss it with.

    I feel that way about books too.

  5. You’re one up on me, Neil; I’ve never seen Cats. Whenever I’ve had the urge to go see the thing, I’ve always managed to fight the urge off. I’ve even had to call people up so they could come over to my house and do an intervention so I wouldnt hop on the train and head down to Broadway. So far I’ve managed to stay away, but it’s been a struggle. On the lighter side, I’ve never been to Disneyland, Disney World, or ever watched an episode of the Brady Bunch, Eight is Enough, or Seinfeld, and frankly, I dont feel the loss.

  6. When I was 12 and my brother 9, we had what is now called “The Winter of Bad Theatre”… very appropriate considering it all started at The WinterGarden Theatre.

    For one of our Hanukkah gifts, we each got to pick a New York City show we would all go to as a family. Awesome, Right? Well no, you never let two children pick what show you’ll go see. Children have no taste!

    I choose CATS… which kept us entertained, being 12 and 9. Then my brother choice was Starlight Express… even at 12, I knew THAT was bad bad theatre.

    Even as a theatre professional, I think those two shows were the causes of my aversion to musical theatre for a long long time. Eventually I got over it and realized there is some really great musical theatre out there… and some god awful shows too.

    FYI… an actor friend of mine in NYC who is a self-proclaimed “Rent-Head” (he’s seen it no less than 10 times on stage), got to be in preview audience of Rent The Movie. He LOVED it. Stayed true to the story, the music, and the spirit. I also think some of the cast from the stage to movie overlap.

  7. i’ve never seen cats but i’m glad i now have read a blog by someone who has so i can try and impress my friends that i am reading a blog of a person who has a glorious life! i also don’t watch grey’s anatomy, i’m in canada, we don’t have the tv thing here and i don’t have a water cooler to hang out around. well, i have one in my house, but it’s kind of lonely when it’s just me at home. you’re right, i do have quite a dreary life. thanks for reminding me!

  8. There’s a fine line between bad and godawful, but Cats is way off in the distance there.

    As for the watercooler – we can’t talk about TV shows no more? Wow, maybe we’ll have to start on something else, like, I don’t know, “And, you’re name is…?” 😀

  9. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure there are “watercoolers” anymore either. Maybe I need to change that to the pile of cheap bottled water.

  10. Cats…all smoke and mirrors…one good song, that’s it. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine didn’t “get” what all the hoopla was over the oscar winning “The English Patient”. If you want a real snooze- fest…go see Les Miserables(sorry if I offended anyone)

  11. I saw Cats when I was about 13 or 14, and I have to admit I adored it. That was during a five-year period of my life when I liked musical theatre.

    I do not enjoy musical theatre now, though I don’t think it has anything to do with Cats per se.

    I do, however, enjoy T.S. Eliot.

    As I don’t own a television, I’m never a part of those conversations anyway. I’m perpetually “out of the loop”.

    I’m happy to talk about movies after any length of time since they came out. I can talk about Bull Durham for hours.

    OK, not hours. Some amount of minutes.

  12. Ashbloem, I would never diss musical theater. I love musical theater. I am gay at heart. In fact, I would love to be a cool gay guy. Unfortunately, I think about being naked with women like you all the time, so my plan is all screwed up.

    But I digress. I love musicals. Except for Andrew Lloyd Webber. Maybe because he’s one of the few non-Jews doing it, so I’m biased against him.

    And you don’t own a TV? What the hell is that all about? What DO you talk about with other people? Maybe you and Akaky should strike a friendship and talk about all the TV shows you’ve never seen.

    But I knew you would be a “Cats” person, being one of those wimpy cat lovers. By the way, here’s a little treat for you: the weirdest cat site available today: http://www.stuffonmycat.com/

  13. Cats is better than Starlight Express and worse than Sweeney Todd. I think that fully puts it into perspective.

  14. As the only straight man who loves musicals more than you do, I have to say that even I refuse to break my 25-year-old boycott of “Cats.” The only thing that would bring me within smelling distance of that litter box would be if my musical-loving daughter were appearing in a production of it at her theatre group.

    It always amazed me that people visiting New York would flock to such tripe when there were innovative musicals they could go see such as “Rent” (see my current post) or “Sweeney Todd” or even revivals of great classics like “Oklahoma” or “Guys and Dolls.” Did you get a chance to see “Urinetown?” Now that’s theater! Just say no to jellicle songs for jellicle cats!

  15. I saw Cats with my mom. I loved it! It was better than Cats!

  16. Well I’m a loser because I still have not seen it.

    I think this age of technology tears people apart. We rely so much on gadgets to do our communicating for us, we forget how to actually have real life conversation. Pretty soon we’ll find someone or some way to write our blog posts.

  17. Yeah, saw it at a young age only because I thought the song Magical Mr. Mystafalies (or however the hell it’s spelled) and then I got over it and decided musicals about people with AIDS was a lot better. Oh and musicals about Lions destined to be Kings. But hey the color purple is coming soon, and what can be more entertaining than songs about a woman being abused by her father and then her husband?

  18. Once on a trip to NYC my mother took my brother to see Cats and my father took me to see something else. I don’t remember why we didn’t all go see the same show, but I was SO jealous of my brother, especially when he told me he got to sit in the 5th row and the cats actually touched him! I look back at that memory now and ask myself, “WHY?” I still haven’t seen Cats and I really think I could die completely fulfilled if I never see it.

  19. Never seen Cats, but just for the sake of saying I have, I’ve always wanted to. The only “Broadway” show I saw was Beauty & the Beast (I was chaperone for a bunch of girl scouts). It was okay, though. And I once saw a Cirque du Soleil show. That was pretty awesome! I am up-to-date on current movies, but I still love to talk about old ones. I am pretty much a “loner,” though, so it doesn’t bother me if I don’t keep up with “current events.” 🙂 In fact, I get most of my news from Jon Stewart!

  20. saw cats on channel 13 and thought it was boring never wanted to see the show
    but either you love it or hate it.

  21. Thankfully, I’ve never seen Cats…nor do I ever plan on making an attempt to see this show. I heard once that the cats come into the audience and paw at innocent viewers. I want none of that. No freaks dressed up in cats with scary make up trying to touch me.

    Just say no to Cats.
    I did.

  22. I saw Cats when I was a kid and what I liked best was that some of the actors were pretty much balancing on the rail of the balcony and I was torn between thinking “hey, that’s cool! they’re acting in the audience.” and “I wonder if one of them is going to fall down into the orchestra and die.”

  23. I’ve seen “Cats” on video. Mostly because I’ve never been to New York. Now, I am going this month for the first time ever, but I only have 5 days and I really don’t think I want to spend any of that brief time watching “Cats” especially because I heard that they go out into the audience and touch you. I really can’t have strang cats touching me, what if I catch ringworm or something? That could really kill my vacation.

  24. Mom, why do New Yorkers always say “Channel 13” and assume everyone else knows that you are talking about PBS?

  25. Neil, Channel 13 is PBS, just as Channel 2 is CBS, Channel 4 is NBC, and Channel 7 is ABC. This is the natural order of the the universe. Channels 5, 9, and 11 have done odd things with themselves over the years, and now I am utterly aghast whenever I see the Yankees play on Channel 9 and the Mets play on Channel 11, when we all know that the Yankees should be on 11 and the Mets on 9. To see the Yankees on 9 seems an act contrary to nature, like incest or bestiality or putting peanut butter on lasagna.

  26. Neil, I live in Canada, and I assumed that your mom meant PBS when she said Channel 13.

    As for me, I never saw CATS on Channel 13, or any other channel for that matter.

    I never read the poem
    I never saw the play
    I do not like T.S. Eliot’s “Cats”
    In any kind of way —

    But yes, I’ve lied
    It must be told
    There is an aspect of it
    That makes me smile.

    It’s the music,
    in particular “Memory”
    that can keep me singin’
    for a long, long while…!

  27. I have never seen Cats. The first time I saw The Godfather was about four months ago. And I’ve never read Julius Caesar, either, so I’m about 400 years behind on my pop culture.

  28. Ok, I’ll say it: Starlight Express was better than Cats. Much better. I mean, come on, it’s people performing on roller skates! I do concede that I saw that one in middle school though. The only reason I saw Cats (at 16 or 17) is because I didn’t feel like seeing Les Miserables again. In theory, it seemed like a good idea: I like animals, see a Broadway show I hadn’t seen before… but I don’t remember anything specific about it except that I was completely unimpressed after seeing it, disappointed even. I wish we’d seen something else. (and no, Rent wasn’t out then.)

  29. Be nice to your mother. I say Channel 8 here all the time and just assume everyone knows it’s PBS.

  30. i saw cats when i was seven and i LOVED it. i wanted to be a cat for days after that. i crawled around the house and licked the back of my hand before smoothing down my fur, i mean, hair.

  31. I’ve never seen ‘Cats’. Gimme like another ten years and I might. I’ll get back to you then.

    As long as people are mentioning ‘Rent’, my blogging friend Stroll just posted an interesting entry about its plagarized origin.

  32. I saw CATS when I was in Fifth grade. It was a classmate’s birthday, and her parents brought a few of us to see the show, from seats up on the side of the stage. The only thing I remember is that we had bags of candy and we would drop them as the cast would walk by to see if they would stop and pick it up. Two did… One “meowed,” and the other said “watch out” and glared at us.

    P.S. I knew Mom meant PBS when she said “Channel 13.”

  33. thought it was kinda weird that Mom Kramer saw Cats on channel 13…here in L.A. that’s UPN…home to “the Tyra Banks” show.

  34. akaky–oh my god, that is so true! Yankees on 9 is traumatizing. And I always find it strange when I go to other cities and put on the TV.

  35. I saw Cats a few years ago in NYC. I don’t recall having much of a reaction to it… it was like one of those movies you see at the theatre where the special effects are fun to watch and the threadbare plot is marginally entertaining. So I guess my take is, I liked the costumes. 🙂 I’d definately dress up like a cat next Halloween if I could put one of those ensembles together!

  36. cats? zzzZZZZzzzzzZZZZzzzzz

  37. OK, OK, I’ll lay off my mother, alright? Channel 13 is fine.

  38. Cats? Never saw it, and probably never will. Ok, I definitely never will.

    I do like musicals, though. I think “Hair” is the best and ALL those songs rock! (Not to mention the Jesus Christ Superstar songs)

    And know they’re in my head…

    “gimme a head with hair!
    long, beautiful Ha-air!
    shining, gleaming
    steamin’, flaxin, waxin!
    gimme it down-to-there-hair,
    shoulder length or longer
    Here baby, there momma
    Everywhere daddy, daddy…
    Haaaaaaaiiiiirrrrrr!”

    Thanks, Neil. 🙂

  39. Half way through, the ushers had to remove me because I was trying to yank off my ears and gouge out my eyes. Even just remembering it, my hand is creeping up to my head Dr. Strangelove style. I’d better drop this subject.

  40. Cats is to Broadway what boxed wine is to alcohol. People drink it and talk about it like they’re all cultured and know stuff, but really it’s just a mockery of the real thing.
    God, I am SUCH a theater snob.

  41. This is why we have the internets yo. We can talk about Cats here. Or you can, cause I didn’t see it. I saw Mamma Mia though, because I’m wicked gay.

  42. I saw “Cats” on Broadway when I was maybe 11 or 12. I think I feel asleep, too. But, my mother always made me sing “Memories” for the relatives and I will resent that for always.

  43. I actually own a cassette of the “Cats” soundtrack, but I it is one of those boxes in the back of my closet that I refuse to open for fear that I might realize how big of a dork I was in middle school.

    And Neil, you need to give the Single bloggers some Blogebrity love. (Shameless plug. Whatev.)

  44. Neil, I LOVED CATS. And not just because I wear similar hairy leotards to bed.

  45. Cats was playing in broadway when I was staying in NY many years ago…. (oops not going to divulge my age…) Wanted to see but it was sold out most of the time and I just gave up. Nope, I’m no fan of plays, but, I reckon it would be cool to brag to frens when I got back to my country.

  46. Neil, if you think staying awake during a musical is impossible, you should see is “Avenue Q”. Quite funny. It’s like “the Muppets gone wild.”

    Free tickets can lead you to do crazy and dangerous things. I’ve been there. I went to a Brittany Spears concert once. I won them in a contest; I think I was the 100th person to buy a turkey. We were the only people there over 14, other than parents of 14-yr-olds. True story!

  47. That was hysterical. I have never seen Cats, and actually felt guilty, like I was the only one that hadn’t. Thanks for the review!

  48. I feel bad because I have yet to see it. But thanks for the warning. I made it 25 years without seeing it, I’ll see if I can go another 25

  49. Personally, I just love the choreography – all the prancing and leaping… beautiful. *smirk*

    (I really did like the choreaography. really.)

  50. Obviously what you need to do is invite all of these people who’ve not seen Cats yet (myself included) over to your place. We’ll all go see it together and then have a big discussion on how much it sucked 🙂

  51. Jo, don’t misunderstand me. Cats disn’t really “suck” in my opinion. It just was truly weird and I had no idea why anyone would want to see this. At least “A Chorus Line” had some sort of story.

  52. I haven’t seen Cats.

    Right now Wicked is all the rage. People look at me like I’m an idiot because I say, “I read the book (years ago before it became a huge musical).”

  53. HA! You got me laughing again :).. I too wondered what all the hoopla was about with CATS… I saw it in London YEARSSSSS ago…and it was good, but.. 25 years?

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