Sunday, May 15, 2011

52 Weeks: Fame--I Danced on Broadway with Rum Tum Tugger!

Terrence Mann--yes, that handsome star--was my partner in an impromptu dance to the stage of New York's Wintergarden Theatre on the last Monday in February, 1984. Cats was still one of the hottest tickets in town.

At the time, I was an executive with a retail trade organization and was running a New York meeting for 300 credit managers from department stores around the United States. The committee head had arranged for the tickets on a free night during the meeting--it was his third time seeing Cats--and he made sure that I sat in K 120, an aisle seat mid-way up the orchestra section. (My twin sis was there too--her tx is above.)

When sexy Rum Tum Tugger (played by Mann) pranced off the stage in Act I during his big musical number, he ran up the aisle and stopped right next to my seat. He held out his hand to me, I grabbed on, and he pulled me up and into the aisle. Then he spun me around in a circle and we flew back down the aisle. He propelled me onto the huge stage, at the very center of the spotlight, in front of the cast and chorus (who kept singing and dancing in the background). Good thing I was wearing a nice outfit and my best makeup!

Astonished, excited, and blushing--but playing along--I mimicked Rum Tum Tugger's dance steps for a minute or two onstage. He then did something even more surprising: He reached down to the knee-length hem of my skirt, picked it up ever so slightly, and said to the audience, "Great legs!"

Rum Tum Tugger finally danced me back to my aisle seat, blew kisses to me, and went back to the stage. Throughout Act I and into Act II, every time this hunky guy left the stage to sing or dance in the aisles, he moved near me and blew me kisses. Again and again. I was so flustered that I couldn't pay any attention to the show itself. (In fact, I got tickets again the next year so I could enjoy the performance as part of the audience. I didn't sit in an aisle seat, and anyway, Terrence Mann had left the show by that time.)

I had no idea that dozens of the credit managers from my meeting were sitting in the mezzanine at that Cats performance! The following day, when I walked into the meeting, I was cheered (ahem, not jeered). The managers assumed that I had arranged my Broadway debut specifically because they were in the audience. I sheepishly admitted that I didn't know they'd be there and I certainly didn't expect to be dancing with Rum Tum Tugger. The committee head surely knew when he gave me the aisle seat--but he stayed mum before, during, and ever after.

So that's how I came to dance on Broadway with Terrence Mann. Want to see him as Rum Tum Tugger? Click here for the video snippet!


  1. Wow! I doubt I would have been as composed as you (swooned) more likely, but I'd love to have had the opportunity to try. What a fabulous memory for you - and now us!

  2. Susan, I bet you would have had a great time if Rum Tum Tugger had twirled you around! Thank you for reading and leaving me a note. My twin and I danced on the West End stage one time...after a London revival of Hair when the cast invited the audience to boogie with them! But that's another story for another day :)

  3. What a great story! Thanks for sharing.
    I only recently discovered 'Cats' and enjoy every snippet that's left of Mann's performance. Just can't stop playing the video. :D

    1. Hi Irene, wasn't Mann wonderful in the role? Enjoy! And thanks for reading and commenting.