Cats takes place at night, which makes the Hobby Center, with the stars in its ceiling, the perfect place to stage it, according to actor Jason Wise, who plays Tumblebrutus, the teenage “punk” cat who’s constantly starting up and running away from the trouble he causes.

It’s been a decade since the show that was once the longest-running musical on Broadway came to Houston. This production is the only one in North America sanctioned by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who wrote the music, including the show’s standout song “Memory.” Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Cats has always been more performance and color than cohesive story line, but the many cat performers out and about in a junkyard make for compelling theater.

Wise tried out for the show in New York City three years in a row (he was 16 the first time) before getting the part in the national tour. He’s spent the last two years tumbling about the stage and says he knows if he ever leaves the show, he’ll be leaving behind a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “People should come see Cats because there’s nothing else like it.” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 800-982-2787 or visit $25 to $65.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: April 12. Continues through April 17, 2011

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
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