When: Fri., May 9, 8 p.m., Sat., May 10, 2 & 8 p.m. and Sun., May 11, 2 & 7:30 p.m. 2008

Nobody glammed up an early-20th-century book of verse like famed musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Weber. In 1981, Weber launched what would become one of the longest continuously touring productions in Broadway history (it was eventually outpaced by Les Misérables), based on T.S. Eliot's 1939 book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Weber's version, simply called Cats, featured a cast of anthropomorphized felines with distinct personalities -- from fallen beauty queen Grizabella to the pirate cat Growltiger, to the female "cat burgler" Rumpleteazer. Designed like an '80s music video -- fire escapes, discarded tires, women sauntering through alleyways in leg warmers and Sid Vicious hairstyles -- it remains one of the more aesthetically pleasurable productions in Weber's oeuvre, and manages to seem nostalgic without being retrograde. Broadway Across America theater company brings Cats to the Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland). May 9 (8 p.m.), May 10 (2 p.m., 8 p.m.), and May 11 (2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.). or 510-625-TIXS

Rachel Swan

Price: $20, $40, $50, $60

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