The new Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s opened to lukewarm reviews on Wednesday, but one star is receiving universally rave reviews, and may be letting it get to his head. The story’s cat character, “Cat,” is being played by a rotating cast of feline actors who have been embroiled in behind-the-scenes drama that has resulted in firing, hiring, stinky litterboxes, and rumors of over-the-top requests. As the cat “divo” Vito Vincent steals the scene from “mother of dragons” Emilia Clarke, one has to wonder if the fur is flying backstage.
BuzzFeed went backstage on Breakfast’s opening day to see what all the meowing was about, and while new hire Chessie was ready to go in his dressing room, neither opening night Cat Vito Vincent nor his reported understudy Montie were anywhere to be found. A publicist for the production explained that while Montie was out of the show due to bad behavior, his name would remain on the playbill indefinitely — perhaps in deference to the work he put in tolerating the notoriously vain Vito Vincent, who was also yet to appear at his scheduled press shoot.
“Cats do have nine lives. While there are others who are joining the production as understudies and covers, Montie will remain at the theater indefinitely.” —Breakfast at Tiffany’s publicist Rick Miramontez
“We hear Vito Vincent, the orange cat who stars in the Broadway show, is now negotiating (through his owner) with producers to get a car and driver each night. A show rep said, ‘We will not comment on specific requests, [but] the producers have made every effort to treat Vito like the star that he is. The production is saddened by Montie’s dismissal and wishes him well.’” —New York Post
Vito Vincent waltzed up the stairs on a leash minutes later, looking every bit the huge star. His charisma was as immediately apparent, as memories of his lack of punctuality faded instantly. Chessie, one of the replacement understudies, looked at Vito with an air of “this again?” but the reporters in the room were smitten by the burly orange cat and his wide-set, serious gaze. He settled into a director’s chair embroidered with his name and seemed completely relaxed, even though the highly anticipated show was to open that same evening.
Chessie was well-mannered and polite throughout our meeting, but Vito Vincent was destined to be the first cat to walk onto the stage that night, and they both knew it. But what would the critics think?
“And a ginger-colored cat named Vito Vincent steals a couple of scenes that would not overextend any self-respecting theatrical feline.” —Chicago Tribune
“The ginger tom playing protagonist Holly Golightly’s cat, the ‘poor slob without a name,’ is a scene-stealing treasure in his few minutes of stage time. Pretty much everything else is harder to love.” —Hollywood Reporter
“It’s telling that the supporting player who makes the strongest impression is Vito Vincent, who plays Holly’s adoptive feline companion, Cat (Vito shares the role with Montie and Moo).” —Entertainment Weekly
“That cat exuded an enviable air of devil-may-care independence as it zipped off the stage. Maybe it should have played Holly. In any case I knew I wanted to go wherever that cat was going.” —New York Times
“And then there’s the cat. A live cat comes and goes from Holly’s arms, which is at once distracting and mesmerizing. It’s hard to keep the focus on what’s happening in the story and to the characters when a live cat is being cuddled on the stage. Making sense of it all grows even tougher once the cat is introduced to the mix.” —Huffington Post
After reading the reviews and meeting Vito Vincent, we suggest this new poster for the Breakfast at Tiffany’s show.