The tale of Dr. McGee’s patient, Cat, who, through the world of letters, discovers that we all have something unique and special to offer!
“A jaunty, Seussian feel ...
a playful, jazzy score”
LAUREL GRAEBER, The New York Times
COMPOSER – Kitty Brazelton
LIBRETTO – George Plimpton
CONCEPT, DIRECTION, DRAMATURGY – Grethe Barrett Holby
LENGTH – 60 Minutes
AGE GROUP – Family Audiences, 3-103
- Vet – Bass-Baritone
- Animal Assistant Two – Tenor
- Cat – Mezzo-Soprano
- Animal Assistant One – Soprano
COMMUNITY CAST – Children in audience participation in select scenes
- Boom Box
- Thunder Sheet
Major Support From Jane A. Gross Trust, The Jaffe Family Foundation, and various individual donors
CAT is a one-act, participatory opera/musical conceived for audiences ages 4-12 and their families. This gentle tale takes us on a humorous and thought-provoking journey as CAT explores the topics of self-worth, literacy, and the heartbreaking effects of bullying. CAT teaches the young and young-at-heart about self-respect.
The audience becomes the chorus AND the orchestra of the opera-musical CAT! Learning two songs and playing percussion under the baton of the conductor, CAT provides a fun introduction to spelling and counting for younger children. Older children learn the concept of syllables and words-within-words, as well as crazy vocabulary lists. Bullying, interpersonal and group dynamics are significant themes that compel post-performance discussion in the classroom and at home. Additional lessons include introductions to the four basic voice types, and how classical, jazz, rock, and hip-hop music can meld to inspire young composers of today and tomorrow.
CAT was conceived to be performed in low-tech locations such as schools, all-purpose rooms, small theaters, and outdoor venues, as well as professional theaters and performing arts centers.
KITTY BRAZELTON (Composer)
Brazelton rejoices in the keen expression she achieves by infusing vernacular American dialects into deep, complex structures. Her full-length opera, Fireworks! was commissioned by American Opera Projects. She composed orchestral work Sleeping Out of Doors (1998); a piano concerto commissioned and premiered by conductor Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble. Chamber music credits include the N.Y.S.C.A. cyber-punk fantasia 5 Dreams, marriage (premiered by her unique quartet, What Is It Like to Be a Bat?), Manhattan Brass Quintet and the California EAR Unit. Brazelton created electronic compositions for pianist Kathleen Supové, duos Twisted Tutu and Double Edge, choreographers Jody Oberfelder and Gina Gibney, Kitchen House Blend and Relâche.
GEORGE PLIMPTON (Librettist)
A fearless adventurer into life’s possibilities, George Plimpton was born in New York City in 1927, attended St. Bernard’s School, Phillip Exeter Academy, Harvard University and King’s College at Cambridge University in England. In 1953, Plimpton joined the influential literary journal The Paris Review, becoming its first editor-in-chief, a position he held until his death in 2003. In his defining role as a participatory journalist, the ebullient Plimpton was famous for competing in professional sporting events and then writing from the point of view of an amateur. These events were recalled in his best-known book, Paper Lion. A further book, Open Net, saw him train as an ice hockey goalie with the Boston Bruins. Two anthologies of his articles and shorter works establish Plimpton as a master of the short form and lover of life’s foibles: The Best of Plimpton (1990), and The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair (2004). Animal Tales was his last major work, and was written expressly for Family Opera Initiative. He was an extraordinarily insightful collaborator and a joyous and inspiring team member. He died shortly after completing this script.
GRETHE BARRETT HOLBY
(Concept, Direction, Dramaturgy)
Holby has directed, choreographed, performed and collaborated on world premieres at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera and La Scala. Original cast member Einstein on the Beach; collaborations with Leonard Bernstein, Lou Reed, Robert Wilson and Yusef Komunyakaa. Founder: Ardea Arts, Family Opera Initiative and American Opera Projects. A Rockefeller Fellowship recipient, she holds a BS and MS from MIT.