I got chills watching CATS last week after I walked friends to their seats and turned around to stand in the dark at the back of the theater and listen to the Overture played by our Paramount Orchestra. I thought of the beautiful collaboration among our Musicians’ Contractor Deb Stevenson, our Director/Music Director/Conductor Shawn Stengel and our Sound Designer Adam Rosenthal with Tom Scanlon mixing every performance at the sound board. How each musician in the pit plays so beautifully, sounding so perfectly, every voice of every singer and dancer clearly defined, every note of music richly realized, voices and instruments filling the theater with all the magic ever intended for this musical theatre masterpiece of Andrew Lloyd Webber. What is that within us that creates the sensation of chills, that phenomenon in our blood that actually tingles through our body as we watch and listen as brilliance moves us? Each entrance of every individual cat enchants. The dancers are casting a spell over the audience as Harrison McEldowney cast a spell over them to achieve this performance of dancing his choreography with an astonishing blend of ferocity, maturity and elegance. I caught my breath and felt my feet freeze tingling as my impulse to move halted for one more look, one more sound…these performances are rare like treasure going into this final week; sparkling gems I had to tear myself away from…
A great meeting yesterday with Set Designers Kevin Depinet and Jeff Kmiec and Lighting Designer Jesse Klug (the astounding team who brought you CATS, RENT, FIDDLER, JOSEPH and HAIR to name a few)! We are working together again on LES MISERABLES and looked over rough preliminary renderings of set design. Full of challenging ideas, remarkable in scale and in it’s extraordinary imagining theatrically of this beloved story! We spoke to our focus on the contrasts between Valjean and Javert; how their paths are spiritual yet divergent against the background of Victor Hugo’s sprawling canvas of 19th Century France. How for us it is a morality play of corruption, oppression, revolution and redemption. How relevant it is to see ourselves, our humanity and compassion for the souls suffering this story of the indignities of cruel injustice, inequality and poverty. How the gift of forgiveness can change, even save, one’s life! And that to forgive oneself is the greatest, most meaningful gift of all!
Set Designer Linda Buchanan (Paramount’s ANNIE and MISS SAIGON) just sent drawings of pinball machines! More thrills and chills are in store for The Who’s TOMMY!
And more auditions await this very busy day for Paramount Theatre!
How I hate to cut off like this and run, but I think by now you understand!
Love you & thank you!