Meow! Cats: 'The Jellicle Ball' Extends Before Performances Begin | Playbill

Off-Broadway News Meow! Cats: 'The Jellicle Ball' Extends Before Performances Begin

The category will be "Up to the Heaviside Layer" at Perelman Performing Arts Center beginning June 13.

This Jellicle Ball is going to be truly sickening! The upcoming Off-Broadway drag ball-inspired revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats has extended before performances even begin. The cats will strut their stuff on the runway at Perelman Performing Arts Center beginning June 13, and performances will now continue through July 28. The run was previously set to complete July 14.

See a new promo from the upcoming production above.

The cast, comprising a mix of both ballroom and musical theatre favorites, includes Baby as Victoria, Jonathan Burke as Mungojerrie, André De Shields as Old Deuteronomy, Sydney James Harcourt as Rum Tum Tugger, Antwayn Hopper as Macavity, Dava Huesca as Rumpleteaser, Dudney Joseph Jr. as Munkustrap, Capital Kaos as DJ, Junior LaBeija as Gus, Robert "Silk" Mason as Mistoffelees, "Tempress" Chasity Moore as Grizabella, Shereen Pimentel as Jellylorum, Primo as Tumblebrutus, Xavier Reyes as Jennyanydots, Nora Schell as Bustopher Jones, Bebe Nicole Simpson as Demeter, Emma Sofia as Skimbleshanks, Garnet Williams as Bombalurina, and Teddy Wilson, Jr. as Sillabub. The ensemble will include Tara lashan Clinkscales, Phumzile Sojola, Kendall Grayson Stroud, and Frank Viveros, with understudies Shelby Griswold and Dominique Lee rounding out the company.

Casting is by X Casting's Victor Vazquez and Sujotta R. Pace.

The creative team is being led by co-directors Zhailon Levingston (Chicken & Biscuits) and PAC NYC Artistic Director Bill Rauch (All the Way), and includes co-choreographers Legendary season two winner Arturo Lyons and vogue dancer Omari Wiles, dramaturg and gender consultant Josephine Kearns, scenic designer Rachel Hauck, costume designer Qween Jean, lighting designer Adam Honoré, sound designer Kai Harada, projection designer Brittany Bland, and hair and wig designer Nikiya Mathis (recently announced to receive a 2024 Special Tony Award). Company member Capital Kaos is also serving as ballroom consultant.

Also on the creative team is beats arranger Trevor Holder, with William Waldrop serving as music supervisor and music director and David Lai as music coordinator.

The production will feature stage-side cabaret table seating in the reconfigurable PAC NYC. Non-cabaret table seating is also available.

Most recently brought somewhat mainstream by the FX series Pose, the Ballroom scene is an underground LGBTQIA+ subculture that arose in 1920s NYC, arguably reaching its zenith in the '80s. Home to runway walk categories that invited participants to dress in any number of themes ranging from the extravagant to the fabulously commonplace, the Ballroom scene is also where vogue dancing comes from—but real vogueing, not Madonna vogueing. Dominated specifically by the Black and Latino queer communities, the scene has become ingrained in much of queer and popular culture today, particularly the world of drag. Ball culture was most famously memorialized in the iconic 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning.

But the world of Ballroom will be a new take on the Lloyd Webber musical, which debuted in London in 1979 as a dance musical adapted from T.S. Eliot's book of poetry, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Largely plotless, the musical follows a tribe of so-called "Jellicle" Cats who gather for an annual ball, presenting themselves for the chance to be reborn into a new life. The first act culminates in an all-dancing Jellicle Ball. While the connections to Ballroom culture might seem obvious now, the original production, choreographed by Gillian Lynne, featured quasi-modern ballet-inspired dance and cat costumes comprising '80s-appropriate leotards and leg warmers.

The production is being presented by arrangement with The Really Useful Group. Lloyd Webber has previously announced that he will donate his royalties from the production to the American Theatre Wing's Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative and PAC NYC.


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