‘CATS: The Musical’ Louisville Broadway Review: Great Songs, Costumes

During Tuesday night’s opening of “CATS: The Musical” at the Kentucky Center, spread throughout the audience, there seemed to be as many Broadway aficionados as there were newcomers, which isn’t surprising when you consider that the cat classic is now 40 years old.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking 1982 musical spectacle (“The Phantom of the Opera”, “School of Rock”, “Sunset Boulevard”) has been seen by hundreds of thousands of theatergoers in more than 30 countries and 15 languages. Now touring North America, the Tony Award-winning show currently plays through January 23rd as part of the PNC Broadway in Louisville series.

Avid fans of the cat phenomenon came out on Tuesday and knew every word of every song in the musical. But for those who had first entered the “junkyard”, which may seem impossible for a show that has delighted audiences for 40 years, thoughts of “what’s going on here?” were not uncommon.

Max Craven as Mungojerrie and Kelly Donah as Rumpleteazer in CATS 2021-2022 National Tour.

Exactly what happens at a performance of the longest-running musical is primarily what made it popular for four decades, though a few new twists have refreshed the litter of kittens and the cat stream.

Thanks to costume designer John Napier (“Les Misérables”), the full bodysuits, leg warmers, wigs and massive amounts of cat makeup are back. A noticeable update in the second act, Magical Mister Mistoffelees’ spins, jumps and sings in a jacket of many colors – thanks to the ever-changing LED lights sewn into his costume.

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