Burien’s Hi-Liners Announce Fall Show: ‘This won’t be your Mother’s Cats’

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by Scott Schaefer

Hi-Liners Artistic Director Kathleen Edwards.

At a special reception for supporters, advertisers, friends and others Monday night, Burien’s Hi-Liners announced that their big show for the Fall will be the musical ‘Cats‘ – only with a major, innovative, Japanese-styled fashion twist.

“This won’t be your Mother’s ‘Cats,'” emphasized Kathleen Edwards, Artistic Director.

The reception, held at the Burien Annex, featured presentations by Hi-Liners President and Chairman of the Board Gerry Gilbert, Edwards, as well as Costume Designer Candace Frank.

The youth group’s production of ‘Cats‘ will be like a mashup of the traditional Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, yet with modern-day Harajuku costuming often seen on the streets of Japan.

“You won’t see much spandex,” Edwards added. “But you will see some amazing costumes and makeup, together with great performances from some of Burien’s best young citizens.”

Cats‘ is slated to open Sept. 15th at the Highline Performing Arts Center, and from what this Reporter saw tonight, it should be quite the production. It will run on Sept. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, and 30.

When Frank talked about costuming ideas, she did so with a Powerpoint presentation showcasing unique Harajuku fashions played in the background. Imagining the possibilities of these images mashed-up with Webber’s now-classic feline musical, one gets the idea that the Hi-Liners will be breaking new ground again.

“I’m not aware of any other production combining Harajuku and ‘Cats,'” Edwards told The B-Town Blog at the event.

'Harajuku' is a fashion style seen on the streets of Japan. Wikimedia Photo.

Harajuku is almost an ‘anti-fashion,'” Frank added. “These Japanese kids turn fashion upside-down with a do-it-yourself culture that is really out there, yet safe enough for kids.”

Some of the themes shown in the presentation had names like Decora + Kawai, Punk/Cyberpunk, Cosplay and others, all with the common theme of outrageous, elaborate costumes and makeup.

We think this will not only be a great musical to hear, but it’ll be an amazing show to watch as well.

Towards the end of the presentation, Hi-Liners Board Member William Meleney added his two cents:

“Our mission is raising great citizens, not doing great musicals. But in the process of raising great citizens, we just happen to make great musicals.”

Auditions are open to actors ages 9 to 22, and will be held May 17 and 18 with callbacks on May 21.

Auditions are at The Burien Annex. Actors can register for an audition time at www.hi-liners.org.

Rehearsals are also at the Burien Annex and begin July 23rd. Rehearsals move to The Highline Performing Arts Center in September.

Kathleen Edwards will be the Director for ‘Cats.’

R.J. Tancioco is the Musical Director for ‘Cats.’ His credits include the Hi-Liners productions of Les Miserables and Chicago, and also productions for The 5th Avenue Theatre, Village Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, San Jose Rep, ArtsWest, and Contemporary Classics. R.J. is a 2010 Gregory Award recipient.

Candace Frank is the costume designer for ‘Cats.’ She has a MFA in costume design from the U of W. Candace is the Master Costume Crafts Person for Village Theatre and has designed costumes for The Seattle Opera Young Artists Program.

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