Idea No.


CATS on Broadway -5yr- Face Painting



March 2003


Anita in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, USA

Special Mention

Theater Acting Play Party

CATS on Broadway Theater Party -- 5yr old birthday  Our daughter had fallen in love with the musical CATS which she had seen at the theater earlier in the year and really wanted to have a party related to this show. 

For the invitations we made a pretend playbill inviting her guests to the "show". To make this we used an original playbill from the CATS show (picture of eyes, cat dancers)and re-created a new headline highlighted in yellow "Please Come to Amanda's Jellicle CATS Birthday Ball!" for the invitation front.   Inside we included the poem, "Jellicle Cats come out tonight, Jellicle Cats come one come all:  The Jellicle Moon is shining bright - Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball!" and "It's time for a Show!"  We listed "The Imperial Theater" (our address) as the place and asked guests to wear their favorite leotards.  When the guests arrived they were greated by an easel sign outside that said "Welcome to Our Theater"with balloons, a picture of CATS and streamers attached.  They were brought inside and told that they would be getting ready for a show. 

First they were transformed into cats -- each guest was given homemade cat ears (made out of headbands and felt) and tails (made from "loopy" and elastic) and each had their face painted to look like a Cat.  They then decorated purple canvas tote bags (large dance bag size -- purchased at craft store) that had each of their names and decorative stars painted ahead of time with fabric paint.  They decorated with felt stars, jewels, feathers and CATS characters that had been downloaded from a web site and transferred onto white felt (with iron-on paper).  When the bags were completed we settled down for a few minutes and read T.S. Elliot's poem "CATS" and then played the "Jellicle Cats" part of the CATS video so that the girls could see the dance, hear the song and see some of the dance moves that are part of the musical.

 We then practiced a few of these moves and did some stretching like real cats do to get ready for our performance.  Inside decorations included lots of streamers, balloons, stars (cut from posterboard, sprinkled with glitter and hung using fishing line), pictures of CATS dancers (coloring sheets printed from web site and decorated with glitter; mounted on purple colored paper)and even a Jellicle Moon hung near where the story was read.  Many of the decorations were prepared way ahead of time as craft projects by our daughter.   We all then went outside where we had constructed a mini theater using a wood platform for the floor (covered with a white sheet) and PVC piping (cut to size by hardware store)for the sides and theater top.  The theater measured approximately 4 ft deep by 5 ft. high and 6ft wide. We hung a black curtain across the back and a red curtain that could open/close in the front using shower curtain hangers. To cover the sides we used white paper (long craft paper rolls). 

The girls each had an opportunity to perform alone or with a friend to music from the CATS soundtrack -- we made it seem very real by saying "Take 1; Take 2", etc. inbetween each Act and formally announcing each of the performances. This whole "show" was taped using our family video camera. When everyone was done, all of the guests were brought back into the house where we had a theater set up in our downstairs playroom -- the lights were dimmed and each of the guests were invited to sit on pillows or small chairs.  We were able to play back their "show" that we'd recorded outside on the stage on our large TV -- the girls loved seeing themselves along with a short pre-recorded opening of my daughter getting ready for the party and telling them how happy she was that they were all coming!   

Following the show we had cake and ice cream(had a photo cake made at our local bakery using the picture from the CATS playbill) along with star shaped brownies/cookies at tables set up on our deck.  We used "star" themed paper goods along with purple and yellow colored table cloths and napkins which were fastened using gold star wired ribbon.  Gold stars were sprinkled all over the table for a very festive look. As a finale, we opened presents together taking a picture of each guest Cat with the birthday girl. I had made cat toys (long craft stick with ribbon, bells and catnip mouse attached)ahead of time and included a number on each -- the girls each picked one out of a basket to determine the order that their present would be opened --this helped keep this part of the party organized and it was a fun treat to add to the girls' goodie bags. 

We used the decorated canvas bags as the girls' goodie bags and packed up their cat costumes (ears/tails), cat toys and an art set.  Thank you notes said "You're a Star" and included a short note from my daughter along with the pictures taken at present-opening time.  The notes were rolled up in scrolls, fastened with star pony-tail holders and delivered to each friend.

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