Story & Libretto by GEORGE PLIMPTON
Composed by KITTY BRAZELTON
Directed by GRETHE BARRETT HOLBY
VET'S ASSISTANT 1
VET'S ASSISTANT 2
Instrumentation: PAINO, BOOMBOX, THUNDERSHEET
Length: 40 minutes preceeded by 15 minute teaching segment
Tour Representation by
Main Stage Artists
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This participatory one-act opera-musical from Family Opera Initiative, is geared for younger audiences ages 4-10 and their families. Dr. Alfred J. McGee’s pet visitor CAT has discovered she’s unique: her name contains three letters, while other animals are saddled with more: Duck (4), Horse (5), Parrot (6), Goldfish (7), Hippopotamus (12), and Boa-Constrictor with 14! When the Vet gently corrects her, the others rudely taunt her with DOG, PIG and RAT. Cat is forlorn but Dr. McGee sends her out on an expedition - to a library to find “long long words in whose insides a cat hides.” En route, a devastating hurricane strikes, but Cat survives, returning full of words containing CAT: CATaract, CATastrophe, CATaclysmal, compliCATed…; words which would not survive without CAT inside. Now she is a book-worm cat, “so happy being me!” Full of humor, light-heartedness, gaiety, and imagination, this gentle tale with uproarious music propels the very young and the young at heart to spread their wings, widen their horizons, and seek beyond themselves, as well as explore the worlds of animals, letters, words and music.
The audience becomes the Chorus and Orchestra of the opera-musical CAT, learning two or more of the songs, and playing percussion for the storm, under the baton of the conductor. Beyond the unique musical experience, the opera provides a fun introduction to spelling and counting for the younger children, while the older children learn the concept of syllables and words within words, as well as crazy vocabulary lists, which they can later expand upon. Bullying and interpersonal and group dynamics are significant themes of the opera and ripe for post-performance discussion both in the classroom and at home. Further lessons include introductions to the four voice types, and how classical music now mingles with jazz, rock, hip hop and other vernacular American musical forms to inspire the younger American composers of today.
Conceived to be performed in low-tech locations such as schools, all purpose rooms, small theatres, and outdoor venues, as well as professional theaters and performing arts centers.