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ECS to Present Cats

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Performances April 10, 11

By Mary Heyl

Looking for an evening of music and entertainment this spring? Get your tickets for Cats, Ellicottville Central School’s spring musical, taking place on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Salamanca Ray Evans Theater. This well-known musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber is the third longest running musical in Broadway history, and is sure to be a hit with theater-goers in Salamanca!

Based on the T.S. Eliot novel Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Cats, the musical, tells the story of a tribe of felines with a difficult choice to make. Members of the tribe of cats, called the Jellicles, tell their stories to the human audience, including how each cat got his or her name.

The Jellicle Ball, one of the main performances of Act I, is led by Victoria the White Cat, played by eighth grader Malorie Chamberlain. At the ball, Munkustrap (played by senior Calum Watt) announces that that night, Old Deuteronomy (played by senior Olivia Venezia) will choose which cat will leave the Jellicles to be reborn into a new life in the Heaviside Layer.   The night is filled with performances by the cats, which each express the cat’s personality and role within the Jellicle tribe. One of the most well-known and challenging dance solos of the musical is that of the magical Mr. Mistoffelees, played by junior Nick Delity. The musical concludes with Old Deuteronomy’s choice, which is accompanied by the musical’s most well-known song “Memory,” performed by senior Alessia Filutze.

ECS’s music and drama director, Crystal Wilder, and musical director, Jaye Zelko, are working together on this production of Cats. According to Wilder, the musical was open to middle and high school students, although the majority of cast members are high school students. In addition to being a fun and popular musical, Cats was an appealing choice for Wilder because of its ensemble cast: ECS’s drama club has a large group of juniors and seniors, and because of the many roles in Cats, these students all can enjoy a significant role.

Those who have seen other productions of Cats, such as the 1998 movie version , are likely to remember the stunning costumes and makeup that give each cat a distinct personality. Although it is sometimes difficult for high school productions to replicate this aspect of musical production, ECS is not shying away from the challenge.  Zelko and Jackie Paddock are making and purchasing some costumes, and are also borrowing them from another school district to make this production as visually stunning as it will be musically.

Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the Salamanca Ray Evans Theater on both nights of the performance: Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. For questions about ECS’s Cats, contact Wilder at cwilder@eville.wnyric.org or Zelko at jzelko@eville.wnyric.org.

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