Coraline, the Musical

With songs by Magnetic Fields super-genius Stephin Merritt, adapted for the stage from Neil Gaiman’s instant classic by downtown luminary David Greenspan, directed by wunderkind Leigh Silverman and starring theater royalty Jayne Houdyshell, MCC Theater’s production of the new musical Coraline at the Lucille Lortelle Theater was the summer’s hot ticket. In a coup of counter-intuitive casting, the pivotal role of the Cat went to Julian Fleisher, about whom the critics had to say this:

“But for me the most completely drawn character is a cat. Portrayed by Mr. Fleisher, who isn’t remotely feline-looking, this yawning, stretching Cat (who plays an important role in Coraline’s deliverance) has all the compelling self-containment and capriciousness of his species.”Ben Brantley, NYT

“Julian Fleisher is a knockout as the slyer-than-sly cat who befriends Coraline. Mr. Fleisher, a theatrical novice, is a not-quite-lounge singer whose smoothly ironic cabaret act is familiar to habitués of the nightclubs of downtown Manhattan. I didn’t know he could act, but he does a first-class job in “Coraline,” and I expect we’ll be seeing more of him on stage.”Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal

“When Coraline returns home to find her real mother and father missing, she enlists the help of an inscrutable black cat — a sublimely disdainful Julian Fleisher.” — David Rooney, Variety

“Still, some of the songs do stand out, such as the Cat’s solo number — terrifically delivered by Fleisher” — Frank Sheck, Hollywood Reporter

“Absolutely the best cat I have ever seen onstage”Michael Feingold, The Village Voice