Friday, February 8, 2008

Wowsa, Meowsa!

(I'm no critic, but....)
Student Stalwarts Straddle Stardom

High School Musical Extrodinaire: Today we will digress from politics and satire and talk about some stupendous students in Las Vegas. Las Vegas High School is on the east side of town. But some local readers might remember the old Las Vegas High School on South Seventh Street - the first and original. When the "school" was moved the original building remained and became a magnet school: the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts. Students must audition to earn a slot. The school houses some of the nations future artists and performers and puts on displays and performances that rival those seen on Broadway. Whether Beauty and the Beast , Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, or the other thirty-plus performances over the past half decade, these kids put on a first class operation.

Of course, every mother's son or daughter is the pride of performers, but these kids are the stars of tomorrow. The cast, crew, and faculty directors put on hit after hit that rivals nearly any performance on the Strip. Last Night we enjoyed opening night of CATS, based on "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," by T.S. Eliot adapted to a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. We've seen the musical performed in London, New York, and Los Angeles. The performance last night compared strongly with any of the others we've seen.

The cast and ensemble, which seemed like thousands of cats, were all superb. Philip Cerza as Munkustrap took the audience on a walk through the lives and haunts of his fellow felines. Among them Lynda DeFuria's Grizabella, Jamie Crider and Arielle Panarae as Mongojerrie and Rumpleteazer, Cody Canyon as Skimbleshanks, and Elija O'Connell as (Aspara)Gus brought their characters to life. The musical solos, especially "Memories" enraptured the audience. Professional Neal Taffe as Old Deuteronomy set an example for the students to emulate as his deep and powerful voice brought it all together in the final Ad-dressing of Cats.

Few who have not been part of a production can appreciate the work and effort that goes on behind the scenes. Musicians enhance the singing and dancing of the cast, the production staff under the direction of Producer/Director Glenn Edwards choreograph, design sets, provide the stunning technical effects, lighting, costuming, sound, hair and makeup, on and on. Without the expertise of the people the audience does not see, the performances would be impossible.

So a flip of the paw and flick of the ears to the Las Vegas Academy Theater and the Las Vegas Academy Dance and Music Departments. If you are a Las Vegan or in town for a visit, CATS is a must see.

Dr. Forgot

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