Photo Credits: WireImage/Mackenzie Warren
You may have seen thestory in the last week, “Service Dog Causes Chaos At Cats Performance”, detailing an incident where a service dog, in attendance at last Monday night’s performance of Cats on Broadway, chased a company member up the aisle of the theatre. In the published story, Page Six named actress Mackenzie Warren as the Cats company member while the article goes on to describe the dog being stopped by a heroic usher.
But we at Dance Network wanted to know what actually happened? One might say, the curiosity was killing us. Was it really a chaotic event raining down confusion like cats and dogs? Turns out, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so we did our journalistic duty and reached out the Cat in question, Mackenzie Warren. Warren, who plays Bombalurina gave us the real story of what happened at this dog and pony… err, sorry, dog and cat, show.
Mackenzie Warren made her Broadway debut in the revival of(which is currently playing the Neil Simon Theatre on West 52nd Street through December 30th!) as Bombalurina. She’s previously toured with the first national companies of the recent revivals of Pippin and Anything Goes.
Mackenzie Warren as Bombalurina. Photo Credit: Sarah Marie Jenkins
Read Mackenzie’s full interview with Dance Network below:
Dance Network: Mackenzie, thanks for taking some time to chat! So, we read the story, now tell us, what actually happened?
Mackenzie Warren: So the dog, which was a Pomeranian, was in the house-left aisle as I was coming down the same aisle for my first entrance. It was sitting next to its owner, and I thought I could at least sneak by, no problem…well, it’s a good thing the dog was on a leash because it started walking into the middle of the aisle away from its owner right as I was approaching. And I was thinking, ‘what do I do?’ (Laughing) So, I just gently nudged the dog with my foot and Cat-stared at the owner. I couldn’t hiss because I was singing. It was a hoot! I had the giggles the whole first number. Later in the show, I checked in to see where the dog was, and the owner had the dog in her lap
DN: Wow, it’s crazy how much different the stories that came out in the papers were! What was it like for you to wake up and be the subject of this story?
MW: The funniest thing to me is how blown out of proportion it got. I was receiving texts all the next day from friends from all over asking if I was okay. (Laughing) Personally, I like their story of ‘Dog Chases ‘Cat’’, better than my version.
DN: Have you ever heard of anything like this happening before at Cats?
MW: I, personally, haven’t heard of anything like this happening before at Cats, but… we do get lots of fans and audience members dressing up as cats which keeps things interesting!
DN: Did any of the newspapers in New York contact you about the story before it came out? How do you think the story got blown out of proportion like it did?
MW: So our PR rep reached out to me last week after seeing in the show-report that there was an incident with a service dog. I explained the whole story to her, and Page Six was the first story [that came out, but] they didn’t take anything I said! (Laughing) That’s where the “chase” story came from— then, every other news story piggybacked off of that; some articles even were saying the dog chased me offstage.
It’s all too funny how blown out of proportion it all became from one tiny little nudge of a docile Pomeranian in the house-left aisle, to a service dog chases me off stage!
DN: Did anyone else in the audience or the cast even notice?
MW: I think people saw the dog in the owners lap later, but I was the only one in contact with the dog, since it happened at the top of the show on my first entrance. My fellow cast member, Sarah Marie Jenkins, said she saw the usher run down the aisle after me to get the owner to pull the dog in from the aisle. But, that’s it, I think.
Mackenzie Warren backstage at Cats on Broadway.
DN: It’s pretty crazy how the whole story telephoned into what it did. Considering how this story actually happened, do you have any other good “the show must go on” stories from you career?
MW: The only other story I can think of is from when I was on tour with revival of Anything Goes. I was one of the understudies for Reno Sweeney along with my cast-mate Kristie Kerwin. One day, on one of the two-show days, Kristie was on for the matinee show as Reno, and then I was on for the evening show. That meant the wardrobe team has to make sure to switch out all of our costume pieces—especially for me, since I’m several inches taller and several shoe sizes bigger than Kristie.
Everything was going well until it came time for my first quick change of the show and I went to slip on my shoes… and they were about four sizes too small! They’d forgotten to switch out the shoes, and I was trying to put on Kristie’s!
I had maybe twenty seconds left of the change and my costumer ran off to try to find any other pair. Next thing I knew, I heard my cue line and all the Angels— Reno’s sexy entourage made up of a few of the women’s ensemble— were all motioning me to come onstage. I almost went out with no shoes at all, but, at the last second, decided to wear Kristie’s and hope no one would look at my feet and see my heel’s were completely out of the shoes. Really, if you can imagine, it was like one of the step-sisters trying to put on Cinderella’s glass slipper, it was that comical.
I did the entire scene completely on relevé while walking down a plank trying not to fall over. Half the cast didn’t even notice, but the other half… they were laughing tears out of their eyes at the sight they’d just seen. (Laughing) I will never forget how goofy I felt.
DN: Incredible! Alright, last question before we let you go, how has it been making your Broadway debut in such an iconic show like Cats?
MW: It’s been a dream come true I didn’t know I had. I didn’t really watch the Cats video or dvd growing up— it kinda freaked me out, to be honest. Cats was never a dream show of mine, because most of my dream shows are tap dancing musicals. But, last year, I got to go to the opening night of Cats to support one of my best friends Kim Faure in HER dream show. I had never seen the show live and was moved to tears several times. I was blown away by the physical stamina of every cast member. I had a blast, but I never imagined I’d be in the show.
This dancing is some of the most fun I’ve ever had onstage. As a woman in musical theatre, you don’t necessarily get to do floor work or intricate movement that is acting based. It is so thrilling when you pair it with the orchestrations and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical mastery. There’s really nothing like dancing in the Jellicle Ball every night, and although it’s hard, it’s so magical.
Cats is choreographed by four time TONY® award winning director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and currently plays the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway nightly through December 30th. For more information on the show, you can dog-ear CatsTheMusical.com in your browser. You can also sniff out Mackenzie’s IBDb page .
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