Felines take the spotlight in Talent Company’s double feature

Published 1:10 pm Monday, March 20, 2023

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For the first time, the Talent Company will offer a double feature, as two classic feline-friendly productions will claim the limelight at the Albemarle Neighborhood Theater.

The actors, between the ages of 8 and 18, will first perform Disney’s “The Aristocats KIDS,” a 30-minute jazzy musical based upon the 1970 Disney animated film featuring “rough-and-tumble alley cat, Thomas O’Malley, and his swingin’ band of cats as they save Duchess and her kittens.”

The organization will follow it up with “CATS: Young Actors Edition,” a one-hour adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical, one of Broadway’s longest running shows. It will feature several colorful characters including Rum Tum Tugger, Mr. Mistoffelees, Macavity, Jennyanydots, Old Deuteronomy, Skimbleshanks and Grizabella.

“It’s going to be all about cats, cats, cats,” said Heather Wilson-Bowlby, the artistic director for both productions, though she joked that as not to discriminate, dogs will also play a role in “The Aristocats.”

Included in the productions will be songs that people are likely familiar with including “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat.”

One advantage of putting on both productions is that little had to be changed between the Aristocats setting and the one for “Cats.”

“In ‘Aristocats,’ there’s a moment where they end up back in the alley in Paris with the alleycats and so that was our hook because ‘Cats’ is traditionally done in a back alley/trashed corner of a city,” Wilson-Bowlby said.

The cast has been rehearsing every weekend since the beginning of January, Wilson-Bowlby said. There are 20 actors involved with “The Aristocats” and 27 involved with “Cats,” including three performers (Kymberlyn Thompson, Reese Pickler and Ada Claire Almond) who are in both.

“The Aristocats” cast includes Bailey Brown as Duchess; June Tilley as Marie; Aleaha Enamait as Berlioz; Callie Huneycutt as Toulouse; Leland Edwards as Thomas O’Malley; Avery Blaylock as Scat Cat; Julian Eudy as Wacky Cat; Ada Claire Almond as Mad Cat; Mabelline Ashby as Hep Cat; Emma Murphy as Slick Cat; Amelia Holt as Madame; Kymberlyn Thompson as Edgar; Millie Klauder as Roquefort; Kaleb Whitley as Neral Napoleon; Henderson Garrido as Private Lafeyette; Jayla Cole as Vichy; Khloe Whitley as Ssoise; Addie Ashby as Alios; Reese Pickler as Abigail Gabble; and Caroline Johnson as Amelia Gabble.

“The Cats” cast includes Reagan Holt as Admetus; Ivy Saunders as Alonzo; Jacob Bradley as Asparagus/Gus; Maggie Garrido as Bill Bailey; Gracie Crump as Bombalurina; Mattiegrace Brewer as Carbucketty; Keely Beane as Cassandra; Heather Anne Ashby as Coricopat; Valerie Jordan as Demeter; Reagan Almond as Grizabella; Riley Morton as Jellylorum; Piper Treptow as Memima; Karma Jade as Jennyanydots; Darby Shaw as Macaity; Zac Baker as Mister Mistoffelees/Quaxo; Rae White as Munkustrap; Ariana McAlister as Mungojerrie;  Mia Benoy as Rumpleteazer; Shelby Walker as Tantomile; Tommy May as Old Deuteronomy; Milo Snyder as Rum Tum Tugger; Logan Huneycutt as Skimbleshanks; Sadie Wally as Victoria; Averee Warner as Electra; Reese Pickler as Pouncival; Kymberlyn Thompson as Etcetera; and Ada Claire Almond as Tumblebrutus.

The productions will run at 7 p.m. March 24-25, March 31 and April 1 and 3 p.m. March 26 and April 2. Tickets are $10 for adults 14 and older and $5 for children 13 and younger. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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