October 11, 2005
Moscow Cats Theatre — 'Non–stop action by a troop of talented felines performing original and astounding acrobatic feats'
Back from the USSR for a howlingly exciting Off–Broadway run at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center is the 20–strong Moscow Cats Theatre, now in its 35th year of being led by founding impresario Yuri Kuklachev.
I don't know about you but I'm impressed that such a thing even exists.
I mean, teaching cats to do tricks?
They are said to perform acrobatic feats: for all I know they even demonstrate ten summersets they undertake on solid ground.
You're talking about a quantum leap beyond horse whisperers and their ilk.
The show is currently four weeks into what was originally a six–week run; it's now been extended through December 29 due to overwhelming demand.
Just wait, Hugh — once this post goes up you won't be able to print tickets fast enough.
Here's the Times story.
- Herding Cats? Try Herding People to Cat Shows
Promoters for the Moscow Cats Theater, in which 20 cats perform acrobatic feats, faced a challenge: the show, currently halfway through a six-week run at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center, is an impressive ensemble piece, sure, but not likely to draw the same single-malt-sipping theatergoer as, say, the new David Mamet.
''As with any show, we try to find the audience that would be interested,'' said Hugh Hysell, owner of HHC Marketing, which is promoting the show.
So, Mr. Hysell identified veterinarians not as mere ringworm treaters, but as cultural power brokers.
He said his firm sent tickets -- and stacks of fliers -- to more than 50 Manhattan veterinarians in the hope that they would ultimately make small talk during Fluffy's bloodwork, like, ''I saw a cat like yours in the show. Does your cat do tricks?''
This is not the first time that Mr. Hysell, who teaches a course on theatrical promotions at Columbia University, has appealed to the medical community.
He has also sent free tickets to pediatricians for shows oriented toward children, including this one.
The firm is also promoting the show to the Friskies set with a fund-raising performance (that has yet to be scheduled) for the North Shore Animal League, and ticket giveaways with Have a Heart Adopt a Pet Foundation, petfinder.com and petaholics.com.
Along with raising the performance's profile with pet lovers, the partnerships also may serve to mollify would-be protestors, who may construe a cat walking upside down on a tightrope as animal abuse.
Mr. Hysell said that promoting through both nonprofit and commercial concerns was easy when his client was putting on a show.
''Theater is the No. 1 attraction in New York City, so by aligning with a popular entertainment, they're raising the level of excitement about their brand. If I was pushing Michelin tires or Pamprin, it would harder to get people excited.''
Of course Mr. Hysell's ingenuity is born in part by puny marketing budgets for many productions.
''If I was working in tires, we'd be getting a pretty penny,'' said Mr. Hysell, who was able to recall without checking that each ticket-and-fliers shipment to a veterinarian cost exactly $3.75 in postage.
''We can make money at this,'' he said, ''but we don't have houses in the Hamptons."
Read a review here.
Get tickets here.
October 11, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink
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I have cats and have taught all of them to do tricks. One is extremely bright and gives me his right paw or his left paw upon request. He also sits and fetches his toy, and knows to ring the bell when he wants me to set up the chair to do some bird watching. Though he's the smartest, for tricks, my other 2 can do some tricks also, and it took a mere 3 days and only a few repetitions. I love dogs, too, but don't think that they are the only trainable ones.
Posted by: Geri Timon | Mar 2, 2010 2:40:32 PM
I saw a cat acrobatic show at a Renaissance fair once and it was amazing. Cats are so crafty and conniving. They wouldn't do any of this if there wasn't something big in it for them. Makes me wonder.
Anyway, I want to go too.
Posted by: Flutist | Oct 11, 2005 9:01:02 PM
Not to toot my people's horn, but... ah, who am I kidding? These guys are awesome. Really, Kuklachev and his troupe are amazing performers. Odd though it may sound, I'd love love love to go... if only I had the money. :) You! What're you waiting for? Go!
Posted by: vika | Oct 11, 2005 10:35:26 AM
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