Adventure Theatre, MTC begins its summer with everyone’s favorite cool but grumpy cat, Garfield, with Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude. This enthusiastic musical has the stamp of approval from Garfield’s original creator, Jim Davis, because he, along with Adventure Theatre MTC’s own Producing Artistic Director Michael Bobbitt, wrote the script. Music and lyrics are by John L. Cornelius, II, and it is directed by Nick Olcott.
‘Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude’ emphasizes the importance of friends and family…
The action begins with a new day, and it’s a special day as well. It’s Garfield’s birthday, and he is worried that his friends won’t remember. When his alarm goes off to start the day, his friends Arlene, Odie, Jon and Nermal seem to really have forgotten his big day. Feeling rejected, Garfield runs away in a bad-tempered sulk. Though groovy songs and some hair-raising excitement with his friends, Garfield quickly learns that the outside world is no home and that maybe he does have a good life with his comfy bed, TV, a great owner, friends that care about him and perhaps the most important thing to Garfield, pans of home-cooked lasagna.
The set, designed by Luciana Stecconi, is straight out of Garfield’s comic strip with the bright colors and cat-size everything and with walls that rotate from inside the house to an alley outside. Garfield learns quickly that the alley doesn’t have all of the comforts of home and is filled with animal control officers, fish bones and — worst of all — no televisions!
Evan Casey plays Garfield with all the necessary grumpiness and has a nice voice in his musical numbers. John Sygar as Odie, one of Garfield’s main annoyances and housemate, is filled with energy, and although his character says few words, he easily conveys all his thoughts and emotions. Emily Zickler is great as Garfield’s enthusiastic girlfriend Arlene and embodies her cartoon character through every song and movement.
A particular standout is Isabella Brody as Garfield’s nemesis, a small grey cat named Nermal. She is adorable and fun to watch, and Casey’s interactions with her are some of his best moments as Garfield. Joshua Dick has dual roles as Garfield’s somewhat clueless owner Jon Arbuckle and as the Animal Control Officer. Although he is the only person in the cast that has dual roles, he spends the least amount of time on stage. With his animated movements and clear singing voice, I would have liked to see him on stage more.
Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude emphasizes the importance of friends and family and in true Garfield fashion, he gets what he wants in the end, along with a sweet surprise.
Running Time: 1 hour with no intermission.
Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude runs through August 23, 2015 at Adventure Theatre, MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD 20812. For tickets call 301.634.2270 or click here.