- Home
- News & Updates

The Musical
- A bit of History
- The New London Theatre
- Storyline
- Characters
- Lyrics
- Authors
- The original cast
- Other Cats casts

Two Unforgettable Nights
- Closing in Broadway
- Closing in London

The Origins
- Thomas S. Eliot
- The Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
- Other poems

Cats Video
- The production
- The performers
- The making of

Documents
- Discography
- Bibliography
- Articles

Cats in Italy
- Milan, 1995
- Milan, 2003...?

Downloads
- Midi
- Audio
- Video
- Informatical Cats

Fan Zone
- Trip reports
- Awards
- Miscellanea

Links
- Web-Sites
- Fan-Fiction
- Fan-Art

- About the Webmistress

send an e-mail to the webmistress!


Trip Report:
Boston, February 9th, 2002

(by Swan - AKA Demeter)


Are you ready for this story? Main characters: me (Swan, AKA Demeter) and my Mate (Pan), travelling from Italy to Boston (and back) in three days. A few notices before we begin…

1. The report is veeery long. Sorry, I’m an incurable scribbler, but at least I tried to make it as funny as I could.

2. I was absolutely sincere describing all my feelings and my thoughts not only about the show, but about the city and the people too (the good and the bad things, the happy and the sad). If you think that some ideas are superficial or banal, keep present that all is seen with the eyes of two Italians (and this means, for example, that we are talking about people who are terribly annoying about food) who were in the USA for the first time in their life and for just two days… anyway, feel free to e-mail me and tell me everything you think about the report. If you wish, you can also write comments in my guestbook. I would really appreciate it!

3. Karl (Swingah), I hope my comments won’t make you embarassed… I just thought I was enough older than you to take the liberty of joking about your good looks! (Warning for everyone: I regard Karl as he is a younger brother for me, so all the jokes you’ll read in the report are just jokes!)

4. If someone is interested in downloading this report and publish it on his own site, he can do it without problems. Just inform me, please, so I can feel excited.  ;-)

AND NOW… CURTAIN UP!

Breakfast at our friend's homeAs we live in Rimini, that’s a city on the Italian East Coast, first of all we had to reach Milan, where we should have taken the plane. Our flight was scheduled to take off on Saturday at 10:50 AM, so we decided to go to Milan on Friday evening, just to be sure to be there in time! We left our home at 8:00 PM and reached Milan at about 11:30 PM, where we visited a couple of friends who were waiting for us and gave us a room to sleep that night. Well, not only a room… but a whole house! The old house of a relative of theirs, all for us! They also had prepared all that we could have needed for breakfast on saturday morning… so kind of them!

The alarm clock rang at 7:30 AM, and then at 9:00 AM we were at the airport. Check in, documents, security controls, luggage and so on. The plane left the airport about one hour late, so we were a bit nervous, but then the flight was okay. But… eight hours! It seemed to be eternal. When they brought us the meal, we had a panic moment…
Our meal on the plane: probably roasted pollicle... Pan said: “I think this must be pollicle”.
I answered: “What did you say it is?!?!? Polypus?”
Pan: “I said pollicle!”
Swan: “Oh! Mmmh… *eating meat* Yes, probably you are right”.

At a certain point, one of the flight assistant asked me to give him my MP3 Reader, because he had to ask to the captain if I could use it. I tried to explain him that it was not an instrument that could be dangerous for the plane, but he didn’t believe me and obliged me to give it to him. There were all my Cats recording on it! After a couple of minutes he came back and apologized, and gave it back to me! Pheeeew… 

Finally, Logan Airport! The plane landed and we were ready to leave it, but then they told us that we had to stay inside it for 40 minutes again, because of security reasons. How frustrating! Our first time in USA and not being able to touch that land with our feet! But in the end they let us go down and we could take our luggage, show documents to the policemen and start our visit of Boston.

We tried to understand where to take the subway, but we didn’t find it. We asked for informations and we discovered that in that exact day they had to begin some works on the subway, so we could not use it to go from the airport to the city. We had to take a bus and reach the first subway station that worked (Maverick), and we started to look here and there to understand where we could buy tickets.
Suddenly we were interrupted by a woman who said something that (for us) sounded like: “$&£(“%$@°§*!!!!” We were absolutely puzzled. “If American people speak like this”, we said, “this could be our end”. We showed our best smile and, trying to be veeery polite, we asked: “Excuse us, madam, could you please repeat…?”  And she shouted more loudly: “$&£(“%$@°§*!!!!”
Finally Pan understood that they had problems with the token-machine… oh, yes, in USA you don’t buy tickets made with paper: you buy “tokens”, that are sort of coins you use to access to the tube (and it’s called “subway” or “tube”, not “underground”… and the only time we said “underground”, they looked to us as we were aliens…). So we paid our two dollars and we could travel until we reached our hotel. Our reservation was all right, so we left our luggage in the room and… first big surprise of the day… in the hall there was an Internet Point! I immediately used it, so I could check my e-mail and post a message on the Cats Forum. At that moment I realized how I’m net-dependent!

We had about three hours to have a walk in the city before coming back to the hotel and dress for the theatre. First of all, we wanted to check where the theatre was, so later we could have reached it without problems. We knew it was very close to the hotel, so we went straight on and started to walk in a street that should have brought us to the theatre. After ten minutes walking… we realized that we were in the middle of Chinatown! We had chosen the wrong way… yes, we had a map… we were just reading it wrong side up.
Falling in love with a piano... this is the model named 'Boston'!Finally we reached the theatre district and we had a walk nearby. We spent about half an hour in front of a piano shop (Stainway), because Pan plays piano and he was mesmerized in front of all the pianos that were in that shop-window. Then it was my turn, because after a few meters there was a shop where they selled ancient books, and I passed a lot of time reading all the titles and exploring covers and pages with gold decorations and so on!

Before going back to the hotel, we had to eat something. We entered in a haunt called “Subway”, where we had a couple of sandwiches. We were a bit surprised because we could not recognise about half of the things they use to put in the sandwiches… vegetables and sauces that really meant nothing to us and that we immediately avoided (they seemed real poisons to our eyes), asking just for some salad and tomatoes. By the way, the woman who gave us food in that haunt told us that our accent was similar to the accent of Indian people… Indian?!? How can it be?!? 

Finally we went back to the hotel, where we changed our dresses and I put on my sweater a silver brooch with the shape of a swan, that was my “identification sign” to meet up with Karl (Swingah). We reached the theatre and we were very disappointed to see on the substitution board that Karl was not on stage that night. There were three substitutions: Demeter, Mistoffelees and Tugger.

The theatre playbillA few minutes before the show began, I saw a boy who was coming up and looking to us. My first thought was: “Ooohhooohhwowowowoooow, typical very good-looking American boy!” Then I understood he was Karl! Do you know his picture on his website homepage? It is a very beautiful picture, isn’t it? Well, I can assure to you all that he is soooo much more good looking! So I finally could have a vengeance on Pan, that I was waiting since, the first time we saw Cats in London, he had spent a lot of time looking at Alexis Owen-Hobbs (Bombalurina) as he was hypnotized, murmuring “wow, the red one… wow, the red one…” Now it was my turn! So I started to say “Well, I suppose I could stay here… you can go back to Italy and I will decide if maybe, one day, I’ll come back too…” Hehehehe! *evil grin*...

Then the show began. It was so exciting to see the cats coming from the bottom of the stalls and jumping on the stage! At the beginning I heard there was a problem with Cassandra’s microphone (it had been difficult to hear “Were you there when the Pharaos commissioned the Sphinx”), but then it was all right.

I don’t know who was the man in the first row who felt on himself all the eyes of the cats at the beginning of  “The naming of cats”… they were saying “What’s a Jellicle Cat?” looking at him as they were really deadly upset with him. How much I would like to have seen his face!

The Old Gumbie Cat was funny as usual, and Jennyanydots had really a loud voice when she shouted “Uuuup!” to the cockroaches. At first I was surprised to see that Bombalurina was not particulary taller than Demeter (hmmm, video-influence!), but then I often looked at them, as they are two of my favourite characters (Demeter above all), and they were really good in acting their roles. Demeter behaved as she was very shy and not always sure to be really part of the Tribe. And it was nice to see Bombalurina’s expressions changing so suddenly, from the sexy-queen (she was wonderful while rotating her tail!) to the concerned friend. She had perfect facial feline expressions, and she really seemed to prove a sort of mystical ecstasy when contemplating “the third name”, maybe also because she had quite big eyes. Victoria was amazing too. She almost didn’t trembled at all when she danced the Invitation to the Jellicle Ball!

Unfortunately, Electra, Coricopat and Tantomile were missing. The mystical roles were all supported by Cassandra (she took Sillabub’s hand during The Moments of Happiness, and she suddenly woke up after the nap, feeling Grizabella’s presence) and Misto.

The Rum Tum Tugger and Mungojerrie & Rumpleteazer were very cheered by the audience. At the end of the line “from a vase which was commonly said to be Ming”, Rumpleteazer said a “uh-oh!” that was really funny, and people laughed very much. As they laughed when they saw Bustopher coming on the stage! That was the moment when I understood that most of people didn’t know “Cats” at all, so they were discovering the characters and their lyrics in those moments. Moreover, the actor who played Bustopher (and Gus, and Growltiger) was really very good. Of course he had the chance to play “character parts” that could be played in extreme ways, and maybe this was not too difficult to do (just a hypothesis!), but he was very good indeed.

The first entrance of Grizabella was phenomenal. The kittens tried several times to touch her, but the grown-up cats were doing everything to stop them. If I saw well, Bombalurina even gave a soft slap on the back to Jemima, and then she caressed her, as to say she was sorry but she could not avoid it. Demeter’s voice was a bit too high and soft if compared to my taste, so at first I was a bit disappointed, but I had to change my idea when she went on singing. Line after line, her voice became more profound and with a deep tone, as if she was taking courage, so this way of singing was consistent with the character.

Then Skimbleshanks went away for a few minutes (passing very close to us!) and came back with Old Deuteronomy, while Munkustrap, Tugger and the other cats were singing his song. I’m always moved when all the Tribe celebrates the Jellicle Leader with so much joy!

The Jellicle Ball was (of course) exciting. The only thing that seemed to be not normal to my ear was the music, first of all because it was very slow, compared to the recording I had heard, and then because from my position I sometimes heard the drums too loud, covering the other instruments. But it was wonderful anyway!

Second entrance of Grizabella, and then interval. Old Deuteronomy (Jarret) remained on the stage all the time, motionless as a bronze statue! I really can’t imagine how he could stay like that, without moving a single muscle! (well, probably the large Deuteronomy coat helped him to hide little movements). 

The Moments of Happiness was the scene I was more waiting for. I love that mystical moment when, after Old Deuteronomy and Jemima sang, the cats look up in the air and suddenly stand up all together. It’s so intense! Their glances were fascinating, they really seemed cats. I would have liked my two queens to be there with us!

Gus and Growltiger’s scenes were amazing! Jellylorum/Griddlebone had a great voice… she was THE voice! I liked very much her interpretation of “Gus: the Theatre Cat”, so different from Susan Jane Tanner’s. Not that I don’t like that one, but in this case it sounded… how can I say it… more sweet and more full of tenderness. Gus too was very different from the Video one. That is a very sad cat; this one seemed more a cantankerous old cat… and the lines about kittens who think to be “smart just to jump through a hoop” were so amusing! When he was showing his attraction for Griddlebone they were irresistible!
Pepé le PewHe was kissing and kissing her whole arm, from the hand to the shoulder, while she was smiling and also retracting herself a bit… they reminded me the Warner-Bros cartoon of Pepé Le Pew!!!! Another think I liked very much is that they both were able to articulate clearly the Italian words of “In una tiepida notte”. I could understand them all, that hadn’t happened when I had seen the show in London.

Of course, I’m not able to say if Skimble had a good Scottish accent, but anyway his scene was funny as usual. The train is very different from the London one. It’s not made of cloth, but of metal. Its front light was blinding and several people in the audience had to close their eyes when the light passed through them, while the cats were looking for Macavity.

Aaaaah, Macavity… he was tall and big as a four-door-wardrobe! And his song was well-performed by Demeter and Bombalurina: the first one seemed really uncertain between fear and attraction for the mistery cat, while Bombalurina… well, no need to say that she seemed to be not uncertain. Macavity’s fight was very realistic and I almost really felt fear for Demeter’s destiny… as I said before, he seemed so much big and strong! But Alonzo fighted bravely and saved her. By the way, Alonzo was in my opinion the one with the most beautiful physique… sluuuurp!

Then it was Mistoffelees’ turn… unfortunately I don’t understand very much about dancing (something more about singing and acting), so I’m sure that I can never thoroughly enjoy all his dancing scenes. I just stay there, with my mouth opened, and I think “ooooooh… aaaaaah... uuuuuuh...” What an intense expression I must have in those moments. The audience was really excited when Misto and Cassandra made Deuteronomy came back!

“Memory” was moving. It’s not one of my favourite songs in the show, but I liked veeeeery much Grizabella’s voice, and she also had an original way of singing the song: not similar to Elaine Paige, nor to Betty Buckley… it was her own way. And her voice was loud but without shouting, which I think is always a risk when it's time to sing the last refrain. Sillabub’s voice was very thin but right for the role.

The Journey and the Ad-dressing… as all the chorus songs, they are always very touching for me. I think I had a couple of tears hidden under my eyes. It was also a bit sad because I couldn’t avoid to think that I had spent more than a month waiting for that moment (booking theatre tickets, plane tickets, etc), and now it was ending… *sniff*…

A little surprise I didn’t expect was the final gag between Tugger and Bombalurina. At first she acted like she wanted to seduce him, and this time he seemed to be veeery interested (not as during his song), but when he approached to her, she roughly avoided him and made a sign to the audience to cheer her vengeance! So Tugger showed to be offended and angry: she escaped and he run and followed her behind the scenes! 

After the show, we literally assaulted the merchandising shop and bought magnets, posters, CDs, sweaters, etc etc. Then we walked to reach the stage door and at half-way we met Karl who was coming to look for us. And I thought again: “Aaaargh, if I only was a bit younger!!!” We reached the stage-door with him and here we met Jarrett and Dave too, and other performers who were leaving the theatre. (I discovered that Jarrett had been in Italy, in a city very close to mine!) The boy who played Macavity was even more impressive, so near to us… I showed to be afraid of him and grabbed Karl’s arm (hehehehe…)!

It was really a big surprise to find Adas there too. There was a large group of people chattering or asking for autographs, and they all seemed to be happy and glad to meet each other (we had our moment of glory when some performers knew that we had come from Italy expressly to see the show, and we felt a little embarassed…). We absolutely loved this friendly way of acting, that we think it’s tipically American. All Italians who go in USA, then come back saying how Americans are nice and cheerful, and I think they are right! Maybe the atmosphere was so pleasant also because we were all Cats fan (or Cats performers), but anyway when Jarrett-sweet-Jarrett suddenly hugged me, I thought “How I would like to live in this country”!

BTW: a bad moment was when we realized that we had left our camera in the hotel (the pictures of the playbill and of the theatre were taken the morning after), so we could not take photos with all those friends. At first we were very angry with ourselves, but then we changed our feelings thinking: “This means that our destiny is to come back again one day, and this time we’ll have the camera”!
Anyway, happiness and joy couldn’t avoid us to be very tired. In Boston it was about 10:30 PM, but in Italy it was about 4:30 AM, so that means we had been awake for 21 hours and our eyes were closing. So we had to say hello to everyone and went back to the hotel, where we dropped on our bed.

The morning after, we woke up at about 8:00 AM and we left the hotel with our bags. We had breakfast in a place named “Dunkin’ Donuts”, where we had donuts (obviously) and an enormous glass of hot chocolate. We immediately burned our tongues, and then we saw the words on the glass, that warned about how hot was the chocolate. I think the donut is still wandering here and there in my stomach… it was good, but so heavy!

Penguins were so sweet! Go and see them, if you can!We reached the subway, bought our tokens (finally we knew how to do!) and reached the New England Aquarium. Pan likes very much fishes and water-life in general, so we had to visit it. I literally fell in love with the little penguins, but I think all people do the same, and I looked for a while at the shark, naming him “Jabber Jaw” (does anyone remember that old funny cartoon?). I think he would have gladly killed me. We also bought three little penguin-toys for our nephews.

We also saw the sea lions show, that was amusing, but the most funny thing for us was to see people singing and clapping hands (there was some country music) before the show began. In Italy people are not always so ready to behave like children… hey, I’m not trying to upset anyone, I just can’t find the right words to explain it, but I think you understood.

Finally we had lunch in a fast food, so we could complete our itinerary in popular American food, with hamburgers, hot-dogs, coke and French fries (and they immediately started to fight with the morning donut in the stomach). And then it was already time to run at the airport (the flight had to take off at 6:30 PM, but we had to be there three hour before).

Collapsed at Logan AirportAs we had wandered all day with bags on our shoulders, we were very tired again, and the airport is definitely not an amusing place, so I collapsed on a chair. That sort of dead body under a coat that you see in the picture is me. But the worst thing were the security measures. I was completely checked (and when I say “completely”, I mean it!) twice, and it was not a good feeling for anyone. For me, for the policemen, for the woman who had to check me. I even had to give them for a moment my hair slide (because a part of it was made with iron) and a silver chain, with two pendants that I always have at my neck and that mean a lot to me, so it was so unnatural for me to take them off… It seemed like we all were feeling forced to do something we didn’t want to, but we had to, and we were sad for this. It was so a heavy atmosphere. The day before I was laughing and smiling with my new friends, and now I felt like I was about to cry for that wonderful country who had been hurt in such a painful way. And, of course, I wanted to stay there again, even if I knew that next summer I’ll be in the USA for two weeks. In that circumstance I remembered the moment when my friends and I had planned that holiday. It was during the week after September 11th, not only because we had always wished to go to the USA, but most of all because we wanted to demonstrate that we were ready to take planes and go there, where some horrible people wanted us to be afraid to go. Well, in that moment, at the airport, I think that for the first real time I was aware of how much I want to spend those two weeks there.

Dawn from the plane!The return flight was not different from the first one: other pollicle to eat, other back-ache due to all those hours on the seats. Moreover, it was night for all the time, so a lot of persons started to sleep, while I absolutely couldn’t, because it’s very difficult for me to sleep if there is not complete silence around me (I know, I’m a real boring princess!), and there I had the engines noise and even some people snoring. But I was able to see the dawn from the plane… wow, amazing! Luckily, Pan was able to sleep a bit, so after we landed in Milan he was able to drive until we reached home. Finally the tiredness won even my sleeping problems, so I fell asleep in the car, after other 18 hours of wakefulness.

Morgana (the black one) and Ginevra (the one with stripes)Finally at home. Morgana and Ginevra, our queens, gave us an unforgettable welcome: they started to rub against us and purred so loudly! And Morgana, who is the sweetest one, went on for hours! How will I be able to leave them for two weeks, this summer? I really can’t imagine it!
Of course I had to phone to my Mom who was praying since the first moment I left Italy… “Yes, Mom, I’m fine… very fine… no, American food did not kill me… yes, I ate hamburgers and hot-dogs… Mom, if I’m in the USA, I eat as Americans do!… No, I didn’t look for European restaurants!… No, the plane didn’t have any problems… yes, the show was very beautiful… yes, I enjoyed it very much and I hope I will go back to see it again… yes, I know you think I’m a fool… what? oh, yes, “idiot” is a better word, of course… Moooom, please don’t start to grumble… Yes, that’s exactly what I told you: sooner or later I’ll go there again… No, I’m not going to listen you… Please Mom stop shouting… okay Mom, see you soon, byeeeee!”

Dinner at the restaurant!In the evening we had dinner with Filippo, a friend that now we always call “the guilty”, because he is the one who some months ago told us “What about going to London and see Cats?” And that was the beginning of our Cats obsession… We were sorry because we were no more in the USA, but we were also happy to be at home (most of all after the queens welcome), so we decided to have dinner in a restaurant where we often go, and where we could eat veeery good Italian food… so I think this picture is the best end for this trip report!   ;-)