‘Garfield, The Musical With Cattitude’ at Adventure Theatre MTC

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Garfield: The Musical With Cattitude Provides Plenty of Laughs for All Ages

Adventure Theatre MTC serves up the charm for all ages with its original musical Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude, packing in enough laughs and songs to keep even that famously grumpy cat satisfied.

Evan Casey as Garfield and his furry friend. Photo by Bruce Douglas.

Evan Casey as Garfield and his furry friend. Photo by Bruce Douglas.

The book, written by original Garfield creator Jim Davis and ATMTC Artistic Director, Michael J. Bobbitt, stays true to the beloved characters while making them fully realized creations. The basic plot is simple and geared for younger audiences, yet retains enough humor and tongue in cheek slyness to keep older siblings and adults belly laughing as well. The music and lyrics by John L. Cornelius, II. are clever and catchy and serve to drive the plot forward, giving the very talented ensemble moments to shine. William Yanesh is the Musical Director.

ATMTC’s production of Garfield, The Musical With Cattitude does not disappoint. This production – targeted at the youngest theatergoers – is both charming and magical. With only five actors and minimal scenery, they strip the story to its essentials, focusing on the friendship, and humor that set Garfield apart.

Garfield (played by a perfectly grumpy, sarcastic, and sly Evan Casey) is a chubby and sarcastic tabby cat who fantasizes about having the most amazing birthday in the history of birthdays. His daydreams collapse under the combined weight of perpetually ringing alarm clocks, the weight of that dreaded Monday, a diet of (gasp) cat food instead of lasagna for breakfast, and the feeling that his birthday – his day of days – has been forgotten by his friends.

Director Nick Olcott skillfully helps this talented professional company find the right combination of telling the story truthfully and keeping the young audience engaged in the fast-moving plot. His staging is as smooth and delicious as the three layer chocolate cake Garfield fantasizes about having for his birthday! Luciana Stecconi’s set design pops with color and detail, spilling out of the Sunday comics with magical effect. Kendra Rai’s costumes are whimsical and effective at suggesting the cartoon characters while giving the actors plenty of room for individual expression.

Evan Casey delivers a smashing performance as Garfield. Emily Zickler excels at sassy, comic delivery in her role as Arlene the Cat – and she has an incredible singing voice as well.

John Sygar, Evan Casey, Emily Zickler and Bella Brody. Photo by Bruce Douglas.

John Sygar, Evan Casey, Emily Zickler and Bella Brody. Photo by Bruce Douglas.

Joshua Dick is earnest and goofy as Garfield’s owner, Jon Arbuckle, and does a delightful turn as the animal control officer who tries to track down Garfield and his elusive friends when they escape to the alley.

Eli Schulman is adorable as Garfield’s nemesis kitten friend, Nermal (a role shared with Isabella Brody). John Sygar delivers a scene-stealing turn as the drooling dog, Odie. Sygar’s facial expressions and ability to speak volumes without using words is worth the price of admission.

Make Garfield, The Musical With Cattitude part of your summer adventure plans! It’s a fast-paced musical comedy that is vastly entertaining and perfect for kids (and grown-ups) of all ages.

Running Time: One hour with no intermission. Recommended for All Ages.

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Garfield, The Musical With Cattitude plays through August 23, 2015 at Adventure Theatre MTC- 7300 MacArthur Boulevard in Glen Echo Park, in Glen Echo, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 634-2270, or order them online.

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‘Garfield, The Musical with Cattitude’ Now Playing at Adventure Theater MTC by Amanda Bradley.

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