Cats, cats , cats

The Broadway sensation "Cats" lands at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for three shows this weekend.

Published: Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 10:27 p.m.
Like cats?
Well, there's a colossal feline epidemic swatting its tail through Gainesville this weekend. Two big events. Two days each. Two very sophisticated shows whose feline stars are as different as, say, Cleopatra and Crazy Cat Lady from "The Simpsons."
The Cat Fanciers' Association Championship Show brings out the best of the breeds starting today at the Paramount Plaza Hotel and Conference Center on SW 13th Street. Later that same day, the Tony Award-winning Broadway smash "Cats" arrives at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
So, here's how this breaks down in that proverbial nutshell: Cat fanciers with a penchant for Andrew Lloyd Webber's music and T.S. Eliot's words can - in one weekend - catch a full day of the championship show fueled with real cats, then suit up for Saturday night to catch professional actors dressed as cats singing, dancing and pouncing around near a giant, levitating tire.
But, nutshells being so small and such, there is more information to be had. So here is another breakdown: cultural cat stats, if you will - feline facts for Gainesville's colossal cat weekend.


NUMBER OF CATS 28 in the cast BREEDS Jellicle cats, mischievous cats, old cats, theater cats, magic cats and railway cats COOLEST CAT NAME Rum Tum Tugger TALENTS Singing and dancing WEIGHT Humans in cat costumes likely weigh 120 pounds and up; however, according to the show's score, Bustopher Jones "is a 25 pounder."
LONGEVITY "Cats" opened Sept. 23, 1982, and closed 18 years later. Last month, "Phantom of the Opera" surpassed "Cats" as Broadway's longest-running show. Both musicals were penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
CAT SPEAK The musical has been translated into 10 languages.
CAT TOYS The set consists of 2,500 oversized props.
ROAMING "Cats" has been performed in 26 countries.
AWARDS Seven Tony Awards, three Drama Desk Awards in 1983.
VENUE PREPARATION Set-up starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, with about 45 crew members from University of Florida Performing Arts and 12 from the tour itself.
IF YOU GO 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Hull Road and SW 34th Street, UF campus. Tickets: $45-$60. (392-2787) Sources: University of Florida Performing Arts, Troika Entertainment


NUMBER OF CATSSome 40 breeds will be featured, both short- and long-haired.
BREEDS The most common breed in this weekend's show will be Persians; the rarest will be the Egyptian Mau.
CATEGORIES In this weekend's show, judging will be in three categories: kittens, championship category (not spayed or neutered), premier category (spayed or neutered).
TALENTS Each cat is capable of being awarded 100 points, whether it be for its coat, its stature or its face. In one breed, facial features may be more important in vote tabulation; in other breeds it may be the coat.
ABOUT THE SHOW The show will actually be two shows, one each day, with different judges each day. Although there is no category for household cats, there will be a junior showmanship category for youths ages 8-14, which will be judged today at noon.
IF YOU GO This weekend's Cat Fanciers' show will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Paramount Resort on SW 13th Street. Admission is $5; the show is open to the public.
Source: North Central Florida Cat Club

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