A Dazzling Musical Spectacular

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, T.S. Eliot, and Trevor Nunn

Based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the show is set amongst a larger- than-life junkyard playground and is alive with our favorite feline characters including Rum Tum Tugger, Mr. Mistoffelees, Macavity, Jennyanydots, Old Deuteronomy, Grizabella, and Skimbleshanks. The Jellicle Cats come out to play on one special night of the year – the night of the Jellicle Ball. One by one they tell their stories for the amusement of Old Deuteronomy, their wise and benevolent leader, who must choose one of the cats to ascend to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life.


PLEASE NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Forest Roberts Theatre is also announcing the postponement of the March 27-April 4 production of Cats. Cats is being rescheduled for dates at the start of the fall semester.


Tickets are $17 for the general public, $12 for NMU Faculty/Staff, Seniors, and Military, $10 for students, and $5 for NMU students.

Located in the Forest Roberts Theatre.



"Overture" – Orchestra

"Prologue: Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" – The Company

"The Naming of Cats" – The Company

"The Invitation to the Jellicle Ball" – Victoria, Munkustrap, Company

"The Old Gumbie Cat" – Jennyanydots, Munkustrap, Bombalurina, Jellylorum, Demeter, Company

"The Rum Tum Tugger" – Rum Tum Tugger, Bombalurina, Company

"Grizabella: The Glamour Cat" – Grizabella, Demeter, Bombalurina, Company

"Bustopher Jones: The Cat About Town" – Bustopher Jones, Jennyanydots, Bombalurina, Jellylorum, Company

"Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" – Mungojerrie, Rumpleteazer, Company

"Old Deuteronomy" – Munkustrap, Rum Tum Tugger, Old Deuteronomy, Company

"The Jellicle Ball" – The Company

"Grizabella: The Glamour Cat (Reprise)" – Jellylorum and Jemima

"Memory (Prelude)" – Grizabella



"The Moments of Happiness" – Old Deuteronomy, Jemima, Company

"Gus: The Theatre Cat" – Gus, Jellylorum

"Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat" – Skimbleshanks and Company

"Macavity: The Mystery Cat" – Demeter, Bombalurina, Girls

"Mr. Mistoffelees" – Mr. Mistoffelees, Rum Tum Tugger, Company

"Memory" – Grizabella and Jemima

"Journey to the Heaviside Layer" – The Company

"Finale: The Ad-Dressing of Cats" – Old Deuteronomy and Company


Gus Seth Bowen
Bustopher Jones John Fatla
Mr. Mistoffelees Emily Burbey
Mungojerrie Joel Shinavier
Munkustrap Sam Billman
Old Deuteronomy Jacob Laitinen
Rum Tum Tugger Will Smith
Skimbleshanks Caitlin Palomaki
Macavity Kees Gray
Alonzo Dustin Golden
Bombalurina Megan Hibbard
Demeter Hanna Numinen
Grizabella Audree Stephens
Jellylorum A.J. Stephens
Jemima Erin Culp
Jennyanydots Gracie Fries
Victoria Sadie Knill
Rumpleteazer Zoe Zimmer
Cassandra Kortney Manchip


† Indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.


Pit Orchestra

Woodwind I  Griffin Anspach, Kristi Falardeau
Woodwind II  Amorette Languell
Woodwind III  Jennifer Bleckiner
Horn I Aleyna Greener
Horn II  Jon Paul
Trumpet I  Maddie Gabka
Trumpet II  Yrsa Peterson
Trombone Bella Olson
Keyboard I Jeff Bruning
Keyboard II Anna Morrison
Keyboard III Will Ragnone
Percussion Eve Hutchison
Cello Allie Barber
Guitar Dan Truckey
Bass Oskar Martinez
Drums Ryan Wilson


Creative Team

Director Paul Truckey
Choreographer Jill Grundstrom
Music Director Dr. Erin Colwitz
Scenic Designer Lex van Blommestein
Lighting Designer David Pierce
Costume Designer Em Rossi
Makeup and Hair Designer Em Rossi
Sound Designer Dan Zini
Technical Director Emily Baker*
Production Stage Manager Sophie Sam

Indicates work done in partial fulfillment of the senior capstone.

† Indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honors Society.


Additional Artistic Staff

Assistant Stage Managers Bailey Barthel, Toni Danz
Assistant Music Director Anna Morrison
Assistant Scenic Designer Hannah Carey
Assistant Lighting Designer Megan Hibbard
Rehearsal Accompanist Jeff Bruning
Dance Captains Gracie Fries, Megan Hibbard
Master Electrician Emily Kendall
Light Board Operator  TBA
Sound Board Operator William Squires
Spotlight Operator Sylvia Bednarczyk
Audio 2 Emma Block
Flight Technicians Danae DeValve, Alec Vanhorn
Run Crew TBA
Wardrobe TBA

† Indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honors Society.


Forest Roberts Theatre Staff

Costume Shop Supervisor Ann Juidici
Costume Shop Crew Erin Culp, Frances Dykema, Masie Johnson, Megan Hibbard, Kate Karling, Joel Shinavier, Zoe Zimmer
Scene Shop Foreman Ross W. Johnson
Carpenters and Painters Emily Baker, Sylvia Bednarczyk, Emily Kendall, Ethan Rickert, Audree Stephens, Alec Vanhorn, Taylor Venegas
Lighting and Sound Supervisor Dan Zini
Electrics Crew Mike Banks, Seth Bowen, William Squires, Aubrey Wolck
Prop Artisans Keli Crawford-Truckey, Hannah Carey
Theatre and Dance Marketing Manager Lilith Kontos
Theatre and Dance Marketing and Box Office Staff Emma Block, Leah Danielson, Cami Fischer, Gracie Fries, Abby Macek, Jacob Laitinen, Marina Morse, Micah Munts, Sophie Sam
Photographers NMU Marketing
Facebook Find us at NMU Theatre and Dance! 

† Indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honors Society.


Cast Bios

Jacob Laitinen (Old Deuteronomy) is a native of Marquette, MI. He is a theatre major with a minor in music. Jacob started back at school in 2017 after a 7 year hiatus, and is ecstatic to be back on the academic grind. His previous roles at NMU include Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd, Edgar/Sante in Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe, Professor Porter in Tarzan, Creon in Antigone, Thenardier in Les Miserables, and the Snail with the Mail in A Year with Frog and Toad. Jacob has worked professionally playing Sikes in Tecumseh Outdoor Drama and Rowdy in Beacon on the Rock, as well as performing in the chorus of several operas at the Pine Mountain Music Festival. He has also played Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Herr Schultz in Cabaret, Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show, and Ali Hakim in Oklahoma. Jacob wants to thank everyone for coming out, and he hopes you enjoy this wonderful production.

Audree Stephens (Grizabella) is a senior at NMU majoring in theatre and minoring in dance. Audree will be graduating this spring so this is sadly her last show at NMU, but Cats is for sure a wonderful show to exit with! She has been in many productions at NMU such as Tarzan, Sweeney Todd, Beauty and the Beast, The Full Monty, and a few others. Once she graduates, she is heading to Maine for the summer to work at the Camden Shakespeare Festival, where she will be performing in two Shakespeare shows! She would like to thank her friends, family, and faculty for their support the past four years, and can't wait to watch this wonderful program grow!

Sam Billman (Munkustrap) is currently a junior at Marquette Senior High School and has been involved in theatre since the age of 10. Past performances include Gomez Addams (The Addams Family), Jack Kelly (Newsies), and Harold Hill (The Music Man), as well as spending this past summer studying contemporary musical theatre at Interlochen Arts Camp. Sam would like to thank his friends and family for their continuous support and to NMU for giving him this opportunity.

Megan Hibbard (Bombalurina/Assistant Lighting Designer) is a sophomore majoring in theatre and double minoring in dance and art and design. Her other appearances at the FRT include Fringe Festival, Beauty and the Beast, Mamma Mia!, and What We Leave Behind. This is her second time taking the role of Assistant Lighting Designer and she is honored to be working with incredible cast and crew members, management, and directors. Megan would like to thank her family and friends for all of their support, and she hopes that everyone will enjoy this show as we all “let the memory live again!”

Sadie Knill (Victoria) is a pre-medical student, neuroscience major, and chemistry and dance minor graduating from NMU this May. She is so excited to be playing Victoria in NMU's Cats. Other past roles at the FRT include The Girl in the world premiere of East of the Sun, West of the Moon and ensemble roles in Tarzan and The Addams Family. Before attending NMU, Sadie trained primarily in ballet and has loved broadening her experiences through the NMU School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.  She would like to thank her family, friends, and Jill Grundstrom for always being so supportive!

Gracie Fries (Jennyanydots) is a junior here at NMU from Kingsford, Michigan pursuing a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship and a minor in dance. Her passion lies in the musical arts with eighteen years of dance instruction and vocal lessons. She spent four years teaching and choreographing at Julie’s Top Hat Dance Studio and is currently choreographing at Dawn Dott Dance Studio. Gracie choreographed SAYT’s production of Frozen Jr. with Emily Burbey and was a pro-dancer in last years “Dancing With Our Stars Marquette County Style, Disney Edition.” Her past FRT involvement include Tarzan (ensemble), Beauty and the Beast (ensemble), and What We Leave Behind (dancer and creator). Her hobbies include singing, playing bass, baking, gardening, and spending time with friends and family. Gracie welcomes you to the magical world of Cats and hopes you enjoy the show!

John Fatla (Bustopher Jones) couldn’t be more ecstatic to be in the Forest Roberts’ production of Cats. Cats has been a dream show of John’s for a very long time, and he is so honored to have the chance to perform in it. Previous FRT credits include Santa Claus in A Christmas Story and Reg Willoughby in The Full Monty. Other credits include Ensemble in Mamma Mia! (Lake Country Playhouse), Lord Savage in Jekyll & Hyde (West Allis Players), and Snyder in Newsies (Brookfield Central High). John would like to thank his family for all the support they have provided, as well as Paul, Jill, and the entire cast and crew of Cats. He hopes you enjoy the show!

Pit Orchestra Bios

Daniel Truckey (Guitar) is the Director of the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center. He previously played in the orchestra of the Old Town Playhouse (Traverse City) production of Assassins. Dan is a member of the Celtic folk trio The Knockabouts and coordinator of the Marquette Rockestra. He has been performing as a singer/songwriter for over 30 years (you can listen to some of his songs at In addition to the guitar, Dan plays the saxophone, bass, piano, percussion and, his newest addition, bouzouki. He thanks his wonderful wife, Leigh, and amazing kids, Thomas and Josie, for their love and support.

Creative Team Bios

Paul Truckey (Director): Acting credits include leading roles in over 50 productions, most notably the roles of Grantaire, Javert, and Thenardier in the Broadway and National touring companies of Les Misérables, Fredrik in A Little Night Music for the Pine Mountain Music Festival, Pete the Barber in the opera Rockland, George Jr. in Utah! The Musical at the Tuachan Amphitheatre, and George in Sunday in the Park with George. As a director, he has staged dozens of productions, including Little Shop of Horrors, The Comedy of Errors, 1776, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Flea in Her Ear, The Mousetrap, Actletes, The Foreigner, The Full Monty, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Paul is currently a professor of theatre at Northern Michigan University, and is a member of Actors Equity Association.

Jill Grundstrom (Choreographer) is a Marquette based dancer, instructor, and choreographer. She has a B.S. from Northern Michigan University in Secondary Education with majors in English and French, and an M.A. in Dance Education from New York University in New York City and Genoa, Italy. She is currently working on an EdS degree in Educational Leadership, with the intent to continue to an EdD. She continues to train with The Luigi Jazz Centre, STEPS on Broadway, and Broadway Dance Center in New York City, and has worked, taught, and trained with New York City Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and American Ballet Theatre, whose curriculum she is certified in. Jill is the dance program director at NMU and choreographs for the NMU Theatre and Dance program, as well as for the Superior Arts Youth Theatre. She has choreographed over 30 full-length musical and dance productions in the Upper Peninsula, New York City, and Los Angeles, and recently choreographed an independent feature-length film, Our State Fair. She was the recipient of the MACC Outstanding Performing Artist of the Year Award in 2011. She is currently consulting on a new Character Dance curriculum for American Ballet Theatre.

While completing her undergraduate work and earning her first Masters degree at NMU (1998-2006), Em Rossi (Costume Designdesigned for FRT, PAAC, and LST, in addition to designing many student productions. After leaving to earn her M.F.A. from Wayne State University (where she met her husband, scenic designer Lex van Blommestein), Em spent time teaching and designing in Detroit, St. Louis, North Carolina, and Lansing. For the past four years, Em has slowed her freelance work to care for her daughters, Ruby and Talvi. Em would like to thank her husband, children, and extended family for supporting her in her design work.

David Pierce (Lighting Design) came to NMU from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY where he had been technical director for the department of theatre and dance. Other TD credits include Adirondack Theatre Festival, Little Theatre on the Square, and Four Seasons Theatre Company. David holds a B.S. in construction management from Ferris State University and an M.F.A. in theatre technology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In his spare time, he loves to be outdoors. He enjoys hiking, boating, fishing, biking, and bonfires. He's also a boisterous Tigers fan!

Emily Baker (Technical Director) is a senior design and technology theatre major and welding minor graduating in May. She is excited to be working on Cats as the Technical Director for her capstone and last show here at Northern. Her favorite productions she has worked on at the FRT include Sweeney Todd (Production Stage Manager), The Full Monty (Associate Technical Director), Scrooge (Assistant Technical Director), Tarzan (Stage Manager), Noises Off (Properties Master), and The Addams Family (Assistant Stage Manager). She looks forward to graduating and attending a graduate school to earn an MFA in Technical Direction. Emily would like to thank the entire theatre and dance staff for encouraging her through her years here at NMU and will miss this department and all the friends she has made! That's show biz, baby.

Sophie Sam (Production Stage Manager) is a sophomore theatre and entertainment arts major at NMU. Prior to working on Cats, she was the Production Stage Manager for North Coast Theatre Festival’s What a Glorious Feeling and NMU Theatre and Dance’s Medieval Dinner Theatre. She also recently worked as an assistant director on Superior Arts Youth Theater’s Frozen Jr. and North Coast Theatre Festival’s Mamma Mia! She is thrilled to be utilizing her skills as the director of a brand new devised piece that NMU Theatre and Dance will be premiering at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August. Before attending NMU, she directed multiple productions with Dickinson County Community Theatre and Anatomy of a Murder at the Vista Theatre. She is the current Vice President of Alpha Psi Omega.

Toni Danz (Assistant Stage Manager) is extremely passionate about working backstage. This is her second year and third show here at NMU, and she cannot wait for everyone to see the masterpiece that is this show! Everyone has been working so hard for the last few months, and it's been special to watch this show and cast grow into what you'll see on stage. During the summer, Toni hopes to be interning at a theater in Chicago. She lastly wants to thank everyone for all of the support and coming to see Cats! Enjoy!