Calavity's Rating: G
"Oh no... oh no, oh no..." Veronica moaned, putting her head in her hands, and almost fell into the chair. "And the show goes on in two hours..."
"Hey, what's wrong?" Brad grinned, hanging off of the door frame as he peeked into the costuming room. He was one of the dancers in the Broadway musical CATS -playing "Alonzo".
Gesturing to the rack of costumes in front of her, the red-haired costume worker gritted her teeth. "This is what's wrong. Just look at them!!"
Brad obliged, and held back a snicker. Every costume had been dyed a strange color-"Mistoffelees" was now a bright green, "Victoria" was very carefully painted plaid, and the worst out of all of them was how the "Old Deuteronomy" costume was washed over with a hot pink. "I'm looking," he smirked. "They're... interesting."
"No, they're hilarious!" a new voice broke in, very obviously concealing mad giggles. Brad turned to see the resident "Electra", Donna, looking out from another entrance to the room. She walked over and fingered her costume - originally streaked red, black and gray, it was now a mix of blues and greens. "Not bad.." she commented, giggling.
Veronica fixed her with a hard stare. "The show goes on in two - " she checked the clock " - one hour and fifty five minutes. Do you expect to go on-stage in these?"
"Well, there's always the spare costumes..." Donna suggested, not looking away from the costume rack.
"They're nowhere to be found," a male voice broke in, speaking in all seriousness.
Leonard - "Munkustrap" - walked into the spacious room, up to the small, mousy-haired woman who finally turned away from the rack to look up at him.
"What do you mean?"
"We can't find the spare costumes. These are all we have, currently." He gestured to the re-dyed CATS costumes.
Donna's eyes widened. "So we have to dance in those? Veri, can't you fix it?!"
Shaking her head, Veronica replied, "We wouldn't have time. You'd have to dance in wet, faded costumes."
"So we're stuck?" Brad laughed. "This'll make the papers... I can see it now..."
He made a frame in the air with his hands, deepening his voice as he said monotonously, "CATS Goes Catnipped With Costume Dye! Feline Dancers Perform in the Plaid!"
"Stop joking, Brat, this could be serious." Leonard folded his arms across his chest.
"Well, sor-ree for trying to put some humor into this... it IS rather funny, you know..."
"We what?!" The shout of indignation could be heard halfway across the building.
"The costumes were dyed in some way... you will have to perform in plaid," Laliyta< "Cassandra", repeated, in her soft Asian accent.
Gail, the only other occupant of the small dressing room, threw herself across a chair and sprawled there looking pissed. "Plaid. Of all things... plaid. Why me? Why me?!" she yelled to no one melodramatically.
"...well, this is new."
"Tell me about it."
"Are they kidding?"
"I sincerely doubt it, this time."
"So we're stuck wearing almost-matching sky blue costumes with neon yellow stripes for the rest of the night."
"That's pretty much it, yeah."
Steve and Erin, the troupe's mischevious duo, "Mungojerrie" and "Rumpelteazer", looked at each other for a moment and burst out laughing.
"No! I won't come down! The klowns will eat me!"
Randy, "Old Deuteronomy", sighed and looked up again at where their "Mistoffelees" had perched on the catwalk. Gerome pouted down at him, hanging precariously over the edge and glancing around into the shadows. "Even if there were klowns in here, and even if they were going to eat you, they could get to you when you were up there just as well. You know that."
The wide-eyed man yelped and jumped up, running in a half-crouch until he was down in the main stage area, cowering beside Randy. Rolling his eyes, he grabbed Gerome's arm gently and pulled him towards the dressing rooms. "Gotta get ready... into costume with you..."
The chatter of enraged and amused voices could be heard all over the Winter Garden Theatre, and the crew that had been set to double-checking all the special effect equipment wondered curiously at what could be wrong.
"You expect me to wear this?!"
"What the hell happened?!?!??"
"What did you do to my costume, you freak?!"
"You mean I get to wear neon? Neat!"
"I can't wear this... the klowns will get me for sure..."
"Ger, calm down, it's just green."
"THE KLOWNS LOVE GREEN!"
"I give up..."
"Hey! Can I have your attention?!"
It took a couple more shouts of this, and the help of some well-placed cups of strong wine (no beer, remember, they have a performance to do in an hour) to get everyone in the makeshift "meeting" room - really only the costume-maintenance area - quiet and attentive.
"That's better," Veronica said, a little quieter, savoring the silence. "Now, I have no idea how your costumes got to be this way, but we have to make the most of it. Basically, what Mary and I have decided" she glanced at the dance instructor "is that you're going to over-play the cuteness, make it look like you meant this to be a special production. Don't give away that the whole thing was an accident! And Gail?"
Still seething at her costume, "Victoria"'s head snapped up. "What?"
"Don't look at your costume like that. It's not going to kill you. As you're in the spotlight so much - try to make it look good? please?"
"Yeah, whatever..." Gail muttered.
"Now, come on! To the dressing rooms, we're cut short on time today!!"
As the dancers dispersed to their designated rooms, Veronica looked on them and wondered just how big of a disaster the night's performance was going to be.
Erin giggled as she fit her wig on in front of the mirror, sitting next to Donna and Threnody - "Etcetera". "At least our wigs weren't dyed... but on the other hand, that makes it look weirder..." She reached for the stick of face-paint. "I wonder if I should put on neon yellow stripes..."
"Oh, don't..." Threnody looked a little upset. "Then you would make me want to put it on, or I'd feel guilty... and I don't really want to wear violet stripes..."
"Such a spoilsport," Erin swiped at her, grinning, and went back to carefully applying black around her eyes.
Fifteen minutes to showtime. Everyone had rushed into costume and makeup, and the theatre was packed, as usual. Gail peeked out from the wings and grimaced, looking down at her... plaid... costume once more. She looked around at where the other dancers were in position already, and stretched a little in preparation for the performance.
At the ten minute mark, the music started, and dancers in bright-colored costumes crept out, some grinning madly, some looking utterly pissed. They played with the audience a little, unfortunately scaring some young children - "Mama, why is that kitty pink?" - but otherwise went through without mishap.
Then the orchestra stopped, the dancers made their entrances, and the musical began.
"Are you blind when you're born?"
It was amazing how Leonard managed to make his character still look regal and serious while wearing orange and lavendar spots... but, miraculously, the musical went by with only scattered snickers from the audience. The worst incident was actually before the show, when Catherine and Jake first saw each other.
As "Tantomile" and "Coricopat", their costumes were identical, so it shouldn't have been a surprise, but seeing the new aquamarine/beige patterning on someone else was a different thing entirely. Catherine stared a moment, then literally fell over laughing, taking a couple of makeup tins with her.
Jake pointedly looked away from his counterpart's costume, but as soon as he glanced over at where she was trying to help clean makeup off the floor, collapsed with held-in laughter - accidentally pushing Steve into an abandoned spiked collar hanging on the wall.
The long-haired dancer yelped and sprang across the room, barely missing Mary, who had just entered.
And the show goes on!
Near where Tugger was meant to exit, stage-left, there was a large reflective bit attached to the junk. As the extravagent dancer who played him, Chaim, revelled in the reactions his orange and blue appearance got from the audience and prepared to end his song, he spotted this. Greedy for a bit more stagetime (though he had ENOUGH already), he paused before the finale, examining himself in the makeshift mirror. Turning to the audience and giving a huge grin, he mouthed "ORANGE RULES!!" and fluffed his ruff once more, before ending the sequence.
Erin and Steve didn't miss a chance to play up to their new appearance, growing more playful as they went on with their song. The Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer duet ended normally, except for a small tussle starting when Erin swiped at Steve's nose, which escalated until Leonard had to play referee for it.
During intermission, when the cast would take a bit of time to run around the lobby and meet fans, people's reactions fell into two categories: shocked and slightly frightened, or greatly amused. A teenage girl who introduced herself as Siadea Kanche ("Sia to my friends, those that don't run anyway.") fell into the second category; she fingered Gerome's now-green tail, laughed and said "Well, there's something you don't see every day! Niiice green kitty..."
The slightly built dancer swallowed hard, staring at her. Hesitantly, he asked, "You're... not one of the klowns... are you?"
Sia glanced down at her homemade CATS costume, slightly Siamese in coloring, then back up at Gerome. "Do I look it?"
"They could be everywhere..." As Gerome slunk back into the crowd, not quite inconspicuously, thanks to his bright green outfit, Sia laughed to herself over his apparent paranoia.
A female Mistoffelees lookalike wandered through the lobby, squealing at all the souveniers she could buy and counting out money with a blatant disregard for the fact that she still needed to buy dinner with that. Turning quickly away from a counter, she bumped into a wildly striped gray and neon pink chest. Actually, it was attached to an entire body. The body was encased in a gray and pink Macavity costume, and it's name was Victor.
"MACAV!!" The crazed shout of triumph was barely heard in the crowded lobby as Calamity flung herself at him.
"Erf!" was all Victor could say in response as he was nearly knocked into the milling crowd by her full-speed-ahead weight.
Grinning as wide as her mouth would allow, and still clinging to the muscular dancer, Cala poked at his new colors and commented, like she was berating a small child, "Geez, what happened, Macav? You fall into the paint too?"
"Actually," came Chaim's smooth voice from behind her, "our wonderful Mr. Mistoffelees was experimenting with his magic, and made a little... error in judgement."
Calamity's eyes grew wide, looking between the two oddly colored Toms. "Cala's in heaven... Macav... Tugga... Macav... Tugga..." she chanted, half-under her breath. "MINE now!"
Victor glanced over at Chaim, a slightly worried expression on his face, and replied, "Umm... what's your name again?"
"Yeah... actually, we have to get backstage now, so..."
"Aww... darnit, and just when I had them in my paws!"
Intermission ended, life goes on. There was a rough point in Growltiger's Last Stand where Sasha's dark green Griddlebone-tail startled her into thinking it was a snake (don't ask), and she broke into Terrence's aria with a high-pitched yelp. "Growltiger" shot her a glare, but continued singing, and it fortunately turned out fairly well. Despite the kittens in the background pretending to hack eachothers' stripes off.
The wonderful, talent-drawing, crazed-fan-making musical continued as normally planned... until Becky, "Grizabella", returned to the stage for the last time.
Sia found herself sitting by one of the entrance ramps, and Gerome just happened to place himself there as Becky sang. She grinned over at him, fiddling with his tail and patting his headfur, and listened to the lyrics run past. As he turned his head to form a purr at her, his gaze fell on the shirt that the man sitting next to her was wearing. His jaw dropped.
With a shout of "Klowns!!" that echoed through the stage, Gerome leapt into a surprised Sia's lap and buried his face in her shoulder. Becky faltered in her singing, sending a half-glare in their direction, but Sia was too thrilled to notice, and if she did, she wouldn't have cared much.
Giggling a little, and stroking the still-ebony black headfur that had been thrust directly in front of her face, Sia managed to spare a glance over at the man's shirt - and nearly burst out laughing in the middle of the theatre. The logo read "RINGLING BROTHERS", and it held a picture of three clowns tripping over each others' feet.
"Juust a little bit paranoid, are we?" she grinned at Gerome.
He removed his face from her shoulder to look up at her with big eyes. "They're coming to eat me!"
Sia laughed as loudly as she dared. "Yes, we all know klowns are scary. As are mimes. But that's no reason to break into Griz's song, is it?"
Their whispered conversation unfortunately attracted the attention of the people sitting in the seats surrounding her. After getting jabbed bitterly in the back a couple times, Sia stuck her tongue out at the middle-aged woman behind her, then turned back to gleefully watching CATS. However, she didn't let Gerome leave her lap, no matter what he tried to do to get away.
Not even when he shot her the best Jemima eyes (without the whip) she had ever encountered.
"You ruined it! Ruined, I tell you!"
"No I didn't..... really, your song was great..."
"Gerome, if you ever do something like this again, I'll... I'll... umm..." Becky's voice trailed off, unable to think of any threats.
"Get your understudy to cover your role while you go to therapy," the producer's peeved voice came from the doorway. He stalked into the small backstage room, and directly up to Gerome. "What the hell were you thinking out there?! You could have ruined the entire night's production!"
Cowering slightly under Roy's heavy glare, the still-in-costume dancer tried to find words to protest, "But... I... umm, that girl seemed pretty happy..."
"Happy? We had to bribe her to let you go, or don't you remember!" The sandy-haired man sighed suddenly, rubbing his eyes. "This is really getting to be a problem, Ger. You need help."
"I knew it!" Brad yelled from the back of the room, springing up out of his seat.
Becky folded her arms and growled, "Brat?"
"Yeees?" Smiling sweetly.
"Shut up and stay out of this, or you're never going to sing again."
Gail had gotten out of her costume as quickly as possible, and it was at that point in the argument that she walked into the room. "People! I think the main problem we should be focusing on here is what the hell happened to our costumes!"
Gerome snapped this up, eager to get the attention off of himself. "Y'know, she's right..."
"We can't just let these happenings go on! Or let these goings on happen, for that matter! Justice will be served!" Brad proclaimed, in a fake Aussie accent. Roy raised an eyebrow at him, and he grinned sheepishly back, "Well... we've still gotta figure out what happened, don't we?"
Hesitating, Becky then sighed and conceded their point, "Yeah. You're right." She shot a glance at the discarded - blue - Grizabella costume, and grimaced. "One problem, though." A pause. "Where are we supposed to start?!"
"I don't see a problem," Veronica said softly from the corner, where she near had her back turned to the room.
Everybody turned to look at her, all juust bit confused. "Ummm... Veri? You were the one moaning about our costumes being dyed in the first place," Donna said hesitantly.
Veronica pulled up her full head of hair to look at Donna, with a serious expression on her face. "They're perfectly good cossies."
Glances were exchanged around the room. "Are you feeling all right?" Leonard stepped forward. "Must be the stress. Here, we'll help you get some mint tea."
"I said, 'they're perfectly good cossies'. Believe me when I say this, people, the dye washes out easily."
Chaim blinked and looked down at his costume, where sure enough, there were flecks of black showing through everywhere. As soon as he'd gotten anywhere near Calamity, she'd stopped taking heed of her water bottle and let it splatter over his costume. "Aww, damn, and I was just starting to like that color..." he muttered.
"Why didn't you tell us?!" Gail exploded. "Instead of being pretty, white, petite Victoria, I was turned into some tired little plaid rubber kitty! How could you let this happen?!"
Veronica arched an eyebrow. "If you want a technical answer: 'quite easily'. If you want a moral answer, that could take a little longer."
"Spare us the lectures, please, Veri.." Leonard grimaced. He could tolerate a lot, but if he had to sit down for another of that crazy Gumbie-Cat-imitation's lectures, he'd probably start screaming something about dirty monkeys and trying to run away using only his nose. Which, though hilarious looking, would not be good for his complexion or reputation.
Shaking her head from across the room, Gail muttered, "Whatever. I'm just glad I can get this crazy plaid thing over with," as she stood, then walked from the room.
After a brief, uncomfortable silence, light conversation continued, but uneasily. Dancers began leaving for their homes, as it was rather late, until only Veronica was left, reclining in a comfortable chair by the wall. Smiling softly to herself, she saluted the empty room. "Happy April Fools Day, guys."