"Cats," the musical that has had such a long run in London and New York, finally made it to Los Angeles. And Monday night, the first preview (opening night is Friday) became a dinner and theater party shared by three very compatible groups.
Richard Ferry and David McIntyre were the chaps who put the party together for the benefit of Loyola Marymount University, Mount St. Mary's College and Paulist Productions (Insight). Between them all they rounded up about 450 guests, many of whom arrived at Jimmy's, the Century City restaurant, at 5:30 p.m. for cocktails. Dinner--Jimmy's salad, veal--was served with dispatch and everyone was in the Shubert Theatre in plenty of time for the 8:30 p.m. curtain (there is none for "Cats"), which went up (figuratively speaking) just a few minutes late.
For those who like the easy way, there were a few large and comfortable buses to take them to the theater. What happened to those buses when it was time to return to Jimmy's was another story. Spotted on the line waiting for transportation were County Museum of Art Director Earl Powell and his wife Nancy, and Don and Judy Tallarico, who slung a silver fox fling over her broadtail coat. The Bill Goulds know their way around Century City (he's with O'Melveny & Myers, the law firm that was among the first occupants of the initial high-rise) and so they walked through the ABC Entertainment complex and through some puddles (the rain had stopped by then) to get to the restaurant. Jimmy and Anne Murphy hitchhiked with friends and had time to host a little post-theater gathering in Jimmy's bar while Bob Millard played and sang "Memories," the big hit from "Cats."
For the early dinner, tables were set up in all the restaurant's rooms. The atmosphere was jovial and there were quite a few clerics and nuns among the black-tie (optional) and cocktail dressy-attired guests. Mrs. Philip Hawley came with friends. Representing Loyola Marymount were Father Jim Loughran, the university's president, and Father Maurice Chase, a special assistant to the president; representing Paulist Productions was Father Ellwood (Bud) Kieser. There was a fairly large contingent of McIntyres (among them Mrs. David McIntyre with son David Jr. and daughters Caroline and Anne) and even more of the Von der Ahe clan (Fred, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, Dorothy, Mr. and Mrs. Charles, Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred and Mr. and Mrs. Vincent). Among the sponsors were the Edmond Sheas; the Peter Mullins; Mr. and Mrs. John Bland of Sitmar Cruises; and from Times Mirror, Otis and Bettina Chandler, Robert and Lois Erburu and the Dow Carpenter Jrs.
During intermission the talk centered on the show. Some called it "interesting," some said they didn't understand the story but were enjoying it anyway and quite a few more climbed the steps up to the stage (a colorful and crowded city dump) to see what it was like from there. "There are no fat cats in this production," commented Murphy, who added that if "this is the way they (the performers) keep in shape we all ought to try it." Lucy Toberman moved around with the crowd on stage, but her husband Homer passed up the opportunity.
The evening left people in a good mood. Notable in the happy crowd were Missy and Malcolm Stuart (they spent part of the holidays in Cabo San Lucas), Morey and Claudia Mirkin (their Christmas card showed photos of their winning horse, Twelve Stitches, and his offspring), Supervisor and Mrs. Pete Schabarum, Barbara Richardson, Ed and Margaret Spillane, Sister Mary Davis, the Walter Gerkens, the George Gibbs, Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Morgan. And also Ray and Ellen Rodino, the Dennis Healys, Norman Herman, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Keeler, the Peter Kellers, Mr. and Mrs. John Kilroy, Mr. and Mrs. James McCarthy, the Thomas McCarthys and the Robert Vaughns.