'Cats' will purr at The Northbrook Theatre

First Performance set for Friday, October 4

Dayna Fields, Editor

You don't have to drive to downtown Chicago to enjoy Broadway-quality theater so long as The Northbrook Theatre continues to book top-quality shows, like its upcoming production of "Cats."

Starting on Friday, Oct. 4, the Highland Park Players, a nonprofit organization, will present its production of the longest-running show in Broadway history at the Leisure Center, 3323 Walters Ave., complete with hand-painted costumes, intense choreography and the best talent from around the North Shore.

"Yes, we are a community theater group, but I think we stand out in terms of quality of the cast - the talent is phenomenal," said Northbrook resident Missy Greenberg, who plays Jennyanydots in the production. "We get compared to going to the Marriott [in Lincolnshire] or seeing the show downtown, so I'm proud of that."

Greenberg works full time for Broadway producer Stuart Oken, who was the lead producer for the musical, "The Addams Family," which premiered in Chicago before moving to New York. Greenberg also works on her own production company, MSG Productions, which organizes theater shows and live events.

But for the past two months, Greenberg has been practicing five days a week with the Highland Park Players, learning the challenging choreography set forth by director/choreographer Jennifer Cupani.

"This is a very challenging and taxing show, physically," Greenberg said. "We're constantly on the stage, constantly moving. We're not people, we're cats, so we're crawling."

Greenberg said she has been acting since she was 4 years old, and she is not a newcomer to the Highland Park Players, having performed with them for her first time in 1994. Over the years, she's done more productions with the nonprofit, her favorite being, "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying."

"I've been with them off and on for a long time. I've done a number of productions with them," she said. "I have to say I'm very humbled to be a part of a such a talented group of individuals."

Greenberg is also not a stranger to the Northbrook Theatre, having performed with the award-winning Northbrook Theatre Children's Company in the past.

However, Greenberg said this production of "Cats" is one that she is particularly excited for, namely because of the imagery that will be displayed by the elaborate costumes, convincing makeup and constant dancing.

"The costumes are phenomenal, and [designer Patty Halajian] has created each and every single costume on her own," Greenberg said. "We're all in unitards, but she has painted each and every single one, and each and every one is different."

Tickets to see "Cats" are $17 prior to Oct. 4 and $20 thereafter. Visit www.highlandparkplayers.com for more information.

Source: Northbrook Tower