Garfield musical comes to Ivy Tech Waldron


Anna Butler (Nermal), Reid Henderson (Jon Arbuckle), Jason Slattery (Garfield), Chris Krenning (Odie) and Ashley Dillard (Arlene) act in "Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude." The musical will show at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center through Sept. 24.  Photo courtesy of Blueline

The Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center will bring one of America's most beloved cartoon characters to the stage Sept. 8 with the premiere of “Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude."

According to the Garfield and Friends website, the classic comic strip debuted June 19, 1978 in U.S. newspapers. On the website, creator Jim Davis said Garfield is a composite of all the cats he remembered from his childhood while living on a small farm in Marion, Indiana. 

“Garfield” is presented by the Cardinal Stage Company and opens its Cardinal for Kids season. The musical follows the familiar characters and situations of the Garfield comics with song and dance.

“It’s a fun kid’s show, it’s very upbeat, very fast paced,” guest director Micah-Shane Brewer said. “It’s a great opportunity for families to get kids excited about theater.”

The children’s theater production follows Garfield, a grumpy and sarcastic orange cat, as he thinks his friends have forgotten his birthday. The story includes cartoon-like lyrics and comedic touches. Garfield sings of his disdain for Mondays in “I Hate Mondays." Set and character design are inspired by a comic-image approach, Brewer said.

“The costume designer tried to stay true to the looks and styles of the cartoon while making it our own,” Brewer said. “The set is very colorful, so it has that comic strip or cartoon feel to it.”

“Garfield” is 55 minutes long with six musical numbers throughout. For cast and crew, the show’s pacing was an important consideration, Brewer said. 

“We worked a lot on the energy of the piece,” Brewer said. “You have to think about kids and how they pick up information and attention spans.”

Brewer said he hopes “Garfield” will encourage and inspire kids to enjoy theater.

“It’s a great way to introduce kids to theater and to get them excited about live performance,” Brewer said. “It’s colorful. It’s fun. It’s energetic.”

“Garfield” runs from Sept. 8 to Sept. 24. Tickets start at $12.

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