‘Cat’ Claws Back to the Stage in Vallejo – Times-Herald

If “break a leg” is actually “Good luck” in the theater world, what is the lexicon for life on the stage after a tiresome, entertainment-sucking COVID pandemic?

It may be time to find out for the cast and crew of Bay Area Stage, set to open its production of the  Tennessee Williams classic “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” Friday in Vallejo. First scheduled to open in March of 2020, the show was postponed as the entertainment world — and pretty much everyone else — shut down over the mystery that was COVID.

As he shut things down and sent everyone home, director Jeff Lowe had one question:

“How long is this going to last?”

As it turned out, it would be two years before the group would be able to try to get back together — and for a period of time, nobody was sure what the future would bring.

“Bay Area Stage Productions was not alone,” said co-producer and founder Stacey Loew. “Theatres across the United States and worldwide shut down productions and shuttered theatres — unfortunately, some permanently.”

In order to survive the closure, Loew began thinking about other possible ways to make money for the company. She settled on the idea to run a thrift shop out of the theatre, which became popular with local shoppers.

“The thrift store, but more due to the generosity of the theatre company’s landlords, Sir Winston Financial, kept Bay Area Stage Productions from closing their theatre doors forever,” said Loew.

After a two-year hiatus, things seemed to be set for the return of the show at the beginning of May — until COVID struck again.

And again in June.

Now that the cast is healthy again, they and the supporting crew behind them are looking forward to returning to the stage in front of a live audience, bringing the classic characters of Big Daddy, Big Mama, Brick, and of course, Maggie “The Cat” to life.

“Well, two years went by, and we lost a couple of people, but we picked up a couple of new people and the cast is terrific,” said Lowe.

Playing the part of Brick is Ian McDavid. Big Daddy is played by Michael Cawelti, Maggie is portrayed by Tabbitha McBride, and Loew joins the cast as Big Mama.

“The end result is even better than it was at the onset,” said Loew.

The director shares that sentiment, pointing out the cast and crew’s resilience and dedication to the production of the classic play.

“They have ridden out the storm for more than two years,” said Lowe. “I have a great deal of respect and gratitude for each and every one of them. This is truly a case of teamwork making the dream work.”

If You Go: Bay Area Stage presents “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof,” August 5 through 21, 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., 515 Broadway St., Vallejo. Tickets are $20-$22.  For More Info: (707) 649-1053, bayareastage.org. Masks are required.

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