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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
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Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
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Incoming journalism professors Mariano Castillo and Flora Charner sit with former student and Battalion staff member Ken Sury at the FJSA Hall of Fame reception ceremony held in the J. Wayne Stark Galleries in the Memorial Student Center on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
A&M welcomes new journalism professors from CNN, Dallas Morning News
Ana Renfroe and Stacy Cox April 19, 2024

At a ceremony honoring Aggie journalists, Texas A&M announced it will welcome three new journalism professors in the fall. New hires will...

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Sophomore DB Jacoby Mattews (2) and sophomore DB Sam McCall (16) attempt to stop LSU WR Malik Nabers during Texas A&Ms game against LSU on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023 at Tiger Stadium (Katelynn Ivy/The Battalion)
2024 NFL Draft: Ranking every first round-graded pass catcher
Mathias Cubillan, Sports Writer • April 22, 2024

As NFL defenses have found ways to stifle scoring opportunities and keep the lid on big plays, a bigger burden falls on the pass catchers for...

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Members of the 2023-2024 Aggie Muster Committee pose outside the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Aggie Muster Committee)
Orchestrating a century-old tradition
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor • April 18, 2024

As Muster approaches, the Aggie Muster Committee works to organize a now century-old tradition. These students “coordinate every facet” of...

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Texas A&M professor Dr. Christina Belanger teaches her Geology 314 class on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, in the Halbouty Geosciences Building. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Opinion: Stop beating the dead [virtual] horse
Eddie Phillips, Opinion Writer • April 22, 2024

Snow days were my favorite days of grade school. I would wake up extra early to stand in my living room to peer through the glass toward the...

Critic’s corner

 
 

Strobe lights, fog and pyrotechnics probably weren’t on English poet T.S. Eliot’s mind when he wrote the lighthearted poems in “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” in 1939. Almost 65 years later, “Cats,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on Eliot’s work, is just as stunning in Rudder Auditorium as it must have been at its first performance in London in 1981.
The setting is the first thing to catch the audience’s eye. Piles of rubble litter the stage as fog rolls in and the cast slithers in in cat-like motions. It appears to be an alley at moonlight when all the cats are creeping out for a “Jellicle Ball.”
The story of these cats is not what drives the show. The names of the cats Eliot concieved are entertaining in themselves: Jennyanydots, Rum Tum Tugger, Bustopher Jones, Mungojerrie, Rumpleteazer and Mr. Mistoffelees, to name a few.
The real action is the choreography, as the actors contort and move their bodies in ways that would make any yoga instructor proud. The songs are mostly upbeat, with a few ballads thrown in for good measure. “The Rum Tum Tugger” (Brian Gallagher) number features a cat with a wild streak and Elvis-like hip movements, fur made to look like an Elvis collar and mojo with the female cats that would make even The King jealous.
Another notable number has Mungojerrie (Mario Martinez) and Rumpleteazer (Katy Burns), a pair of cats, croon about their incessant mischief, with a little tumbling thrown in for emphasis.
The story, which is always secondary to the music and choreography, relies heavily on the pathetic Grizabella (Anne Brummel), a once-glamorous feline now past her prime. Her ballad, “Memory,” which is woven throughout the musical, is hauntingly melodic and will tug on the audience’s heartstrings.
Sections of the set get taken apart as the Skimbleshanks’ (Jesse Factor) song comes on and a train is created with pieces of rubble not previously identifiable. “Macavity,” (James Ginnever) with a bluesy, typically
Broadway chorusline sound, showcases a literal cat fight before Macavity disappears in a flash of light.
The highlight of “Cats” is “Mr. Mistoffelees (Shane Hall). Visually, the choreography is flashy and has the audience nodding along and tapping their toes as a glitter-clad Mr. Mistoffelees nimbly parades around the stage, at one point turning too many pirouettes to count.
The only downside to “Cats” is its weak storyline, although that doesn’t seem to be what Webber and choreographer Gillian Lynne had in mind.
The performance is about movement, music and the poetry of T.S. Eliot to which Webber has stayed extraordinarily true. Stand in any line there is – this long-running Broadway hit is one that everyone should see.

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