Student blogger Owen Fitzpatrick returns to give us his take on CATS, playing March 3-6 at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Broadway is Back! We’ve seen the headlines, but have you paused to truly think about what that means?

The cast of CATS is dancing across the stage with their arms stretched out to the left. The cats are an assortment of colors, standing in front of a backdrop of a night sky.
The company of the 2021-2022 national tour of CATS (Photo by Matthew Murphy, Murphymade)

Our stories are back. We are easing back into human connections. I’m thrilled that the iconic blockbuster “Cats” is coming to The Hanover Theatre.

Storytelling is part of our collective human experience and human tradition. We tell stories to each other on a daily basis whether it is about that one time at band camp or about last night. Stories bind us together. We tell our own stories and we tell those of others. We tell stories of those
who’ve gone before us in a testament to keeping their memories alive. Theater preserves our stories in a one of a kind experience.

The connection between artist and audience in a theater is undeniable. The audience is part of the show whether they know it or not. There’s no participation in television or movies like there is in live theater no matter how much you yell at the screen. No two performances are ever the same and the experience can’t be replicated. Yes, Cats has been on the stage since 1981. With songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on poems written by T.S. Elliot in the 1930s, it is the fourth longest running Broadway show in history. If that isn’t part of our collective
human history, then I don’t know what is.

I want to address the elephant in the room. The movie. The movie flopped and is considered one of the biggest box office bombs of all times. Even with self-proclaimed Cats nerd Taylor Swift, and superstars like Dame Judi, Jason Derulo, James Corden, and Jennifer Hudson, it utterly bombed. It simply did not translate. The resonance was human and the themes of mortality and the loss of the past are universal, but the special effects were freakishly ridiculous. Fundamentally, Cats as a film failed to connect with its audience. I would argue this: do not let that film’s poor reputation color your decision to see this live show.

On the stage, you enter the character’s world in a unique way. On the stage, cats making presentations to get into cat heaven and singing makes more sense. It’s easier to embrace an off-kilter plot when sitting in the dark in a crowded room full of people equally excited to see what you are seeing because of the storytelling. This social interaction of sitting together gently leads us to understand what’s important and when to laugh. We feel empathy. We experience lights and music. Multidimensional reality necessitates participation and takes us on an
unparalleled journey in an activity as old as humanity: storytelling.

Watching a live show in the theater is the closest thing we have in 2022 to living history. Our collective sigh for normalcy has reached a fruition requiring action. Broadway is back! It’s time to buy those tickets and go.

Student blogger Owen Fitzpatrick is smiling at the camera, standing on a grassy hill.
Owen Fitzpatrick