Theatre Review by Fergus McGillicuddy
New York - August 19, 1999
Kat and The Kings, opening tonight at the Cort Theatre, is a musical, based on a true story, with all the depth and dramatic punch of a Las Vegas lounge act. The story (there really isn't anything that amounts to an actual plot, much less dialogue) is told in narrative, in brief lines that only serve to set up or introduce the original, pastiche period songs (of which there are at least 28, with any number of reprises) and is so slight that most of the entire 50 minute second act is nothing more than a concert.
The story of Kat Diamond and The Cavalla Kings, the rise and fall of a 50s style doo-wop vocal harmony group in Cape Town's multi-racial slum District 6, could easily have been a powerful inditement of Apartheid. David Kramer and Taliep Petersen (Book and Music) have chosen instead to downplay South Africa's then current policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination, introducing it only in bits and pieces as the matter-of-fact daily background against which the tale unfolds. Even the group's ultimate dissolution, because of Apartheid, is presented early in the second act almost as an afterthought, simply to tie up loose threads, lost in the jumble of musical numbers.
So don't go expecting a meaningful evening at the theatre. But do go. You'll have the time of your life. Kat and The Kings may not be great theatre, but it is an adrenaline rush, a jubilant, boisterous, exuberant entertainment that glories in the energetic, joyous, and high-voltage performances of Loukmaan Adams, Junaid Booysen, Terry Hector, Alistair Izobell, and Kim Louis.
If Kat and The Kings is remembered for nothing else, it will be for introducing Jody J. Abrahams to Broadway. Abrahams is busy giving the kind of breakthrough, charismatic performance, as the young Kat Diamond, that has recently brought stardom to Douglas Sills, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Alan Cumming. Plan to see Kat and The Kings as soon as possible, before word gets out about Abrahams and you aren't able to get tickets.
Theatre Cort Theatre, 138 West 48th Street New York, NY 10036 (between Broadway and 6th Avenue)
Schedule Tuesday through Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM. No Performance Wednesday 11/24 at 2 PM Added Performance Friday 11/26 at 2 PM
Running Time 2 hours, including one 15 minute intermission.
Audience May be appropriate for children 4 and older. Children under 4 are not permitted in the theatre.
Ticket Prices $75 and $45, Wednesday Matinee: $65 and $35 Student Rush Tickets A limited number of $20 student rush tickets are available day of performance from the Box Office with valid student ID. Standing Room $15 and is only available at the Box Office on the day of performance and only if the performance is sold out, limit 2 tickets per person.
Tickets In Person Box Office Hours Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 8 PM, Sunday Noon to 6 PM
Tickets On Line http://www.telecharge.com/
Tickets by Phone Tele-charge (212) 239-6200, or outside the NY metro area (800) 545-2559, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Tickets by Snail Mail Kat and the Kings, PO Box 998, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0998
Tickets by e-mail Tickets@telecharge.com