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HomeArts/LeisurePersonal observations on Cats at the Roxy Regional Theatre

Personal observations on Cats at the Roxy Regional Theatre

Poster for Cats at the Roxy Regional TheatreThe opening night performance of “CATS” sold out at the Roxy Regional Theatre.  All the pay-what-you-can night hopefuls were disappointed because so many fans paid full price to reserve and get in to this extraordinary show, which will only get better.  Those who wish to see CATS are encouraged to get their tickets early; the show runs Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. through May 2.

Artistic Director John McDonald opened the show by telling our audience that this production is a “dream come true” for the Roxy. It is a dream unfolding for lucky Clarksvillians who get to enjoy this ambitious live theatre production.  We’ve watched the Roxy take on bolder and more expensive productions like this, giving year after year of continuous shows of quality in our community.  We, the audience, can help them by going to the shows and supporting this artistic endeavor.

The live theatre experience is different each time we go.  Performers make it different; so do the audience.

Some audiences are more hyped up and that hypes up the actors too.  It’s important to hype up the actors; I’ve been on the acting side thanks to this theatre.  A stone quiet audience makes you feel like you are not creating any effect.  You are not real, about the same level as a TV or movie.  An audience who laughs out loud and claps gives you an exchange, communication, a sign that they’re alive and so are you.  You don’t do acting for money; you do it to dare to be alive.  An alive audience is “with you” and that’s an actor’s reward.

The stage for CATS has giant sized trash props made by art students of Austin Peay State University and Amber Wallace.  I have never seen such beautiful fish skeletons.

Barry Kitterman helps David Boen build a retractable ramp for the stage of Cats.
Barry Kitterman helps David Boen build a retractable ramp for the stage of Cats.

The singing is central to the production, but the dancing carries it to incredible heights.  I couldn’t hear all the words, but gaps in hearing the words were filled with the dancing and constant movement on the stage.  Last time I went to opening night I couldn’t hear all the words either.  Know what?  It got better.  The second time I went I could hear almost every word.

Chad Parsons must have an excellent “cat teacher” because I thought he was most cat like.  Dan Gershaw was an excellent choice to sing about Magical Mr. Mistoffeles, and I expect Dan will get even bolder.  Ted Jones was so personable, and local Roxy student Brianna Fuller revealed herself (yet again) as an amazing dancer.

Hannah Carmona, also a local student, was in the show but I didn’t recognize her!  Both local girls were professional hits.  Liz McFarlane impressed me with her strong presence.  Amanda Bailey has a loud (thank you) and awesome voice.  It is great to see Bryan Zoppi on stage.  Alicia Kelly really belted out that lead song; Amber Wallace sitting next to me, was brought to tears.  Macavity, the song, was pretty cool.  This production included some amazing ballet performances by several actor and tap dancing on the side.

This show is fascinating because all these talented people support each other and at the same time let every cat show their distinct personalities in subtle and obvious ways.  There’s a lot to watch and appreciate.

Thanks to this wonderful talent, most of whom hail most recently from New York City.  Thanks to the Roxy for the hard work it takes to put out continuous excellent entertainment. Please support the incredible talent and show provides to us.  And thanks to John McDonald, who definitely stole the show with his performance!

The Roxy is generously giving the proceeds from one performance to “Cats R Us” in Clarksville.

Carlie and Destiny Lane pose with Cats.
Carlie and Destiny Lane pose with Cats.

Miracle Powell poses with Cats
Miracle Powell poses with Cats
Debbie Boen
Debbie Boen
Debbie and her family moved to Clarksville slightly after the tornado of 1999. Debbie founded the group, Clarksville Freethinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties, in 2004. She participated in Gathering to Save Our Democracy, a group dedicated to obtaining free and verifiable elections in Tennessee. She has supported groups including the NAACP, Nashville Peace Coalition, PFLAG, Friends of Dunbar Cave and the Mountain Top Removal Series of Films and speakers. She participated as an artist in the ARTZ gallery group in Clarksville and won Best of Show, First and 2 Second Place awards for four of her sculptures. She won a voter's choice award for a performance at the Roxy Regional Theatre. She is a wife, mother and cancer survivor. She is always amazed at the capabilities of the human spirit, and the wisdom to find humor when there is none.

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