A promising musical

A promising musical

Kids clawed at each other, little ones screeched, young adults sang their parts as the musical director Judith Roby was busy getting the motley troupe in place, during the rehearsal of ‘Cats’. The long-running play will be performed by over 80 kids from the age of six to 21 in the City.

Adapted from TS Eliott’s compilation of ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ and set to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the production is about a tribe of cats, the Jellicles, and showcases the night they make the ‘jellicle choice’ where the ‘leader cat’ decides which one of them will ascend to Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. Through an eclectic mix of chirpy and melancholic songs like ‘Memory’, ‘The Rum Tug Tugger’, ‘Skimbleshanks’, each cat vies for a place in heaven.

The kids come from various schools like Bethany High School, St Francis Xavier’s and Mallya Aditi International School. Jason, a hotel management student from Christ University who plays the lead role, says, “The production changed me as I was quite reserved before the rehearsals. I have gained a lot of confidence. My character is full of pride, but ironically, the practice has humbled me. Performing with these kids has shown me how much talent there is in the City.”

Minnie Koshy, whose son Alex Koshy is part of the play, says that her son loves the practice sessions and the friends he has made during the rehearsals. 

The idea for the musical spawned in August and Judith says that the last two months have indeed been hectic. “I had to battle the traffic of Bengaluru everyday to get to practice,” she says. However, she has thoroughly enjoyed herself and hopes to continue doing musicals. Her biggest take-away from the entire experience has been teaching the value of commitment and teamwork to the kids. “They look at each other for cues and work together to learn their parts. Sometimes the little ones forget the lyrics due to which the entire group bursts out laughing. I’m going to miss them all very much once the production is over,” she says. 

From making costumes themselves to finding sponsors and pre-recording music, Maya Mascarenhas, the musical director, says that a lot of effort has gone into the musical. “This is the first time that the many kids are being exposed to a professional production. They are used to a school or an annual day set-up,” she says. As the duo, along with Brinda Jacob, the choreographer, have thoroughly enjoyed putting the production up, they hope to collaborate for more musicals.

‘Cats’ has been seen and loved by over 50 million people in 26 countries. The production will be staged on November 29 and 30, over three shows, at Chowdiah Memorial Hall.

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