On January 30th, 1996, Evelyn Amato, a Manhattan-based thirtysomething, attended a performance of Cats on Broadway with fiance and family. As a result of an alleged incident involving Rum Tum Tugger during said performance, the following letter was sent by Miss Amato to producer Cameron Mackintosh in March of that year. Further to the letter of complaint, a lawsuit was filed in January of 1997. Miss Amato was seeking $6 million in damages. A related New York Times article from 1997 which confirms the authenticity of the letter can be read here.
March 18, 1996
The Really Useful Company
The Shubert Organisation
Dear Sir or Madam:
My fiance Dennis bought two orchestra tickets to see “Cats” on the evening of Jan. 30, 1996. Eight members of Dennis’ family also bought tickets. My seat number was K-102. Dennis’ seat number was K-104.
About 15 minutes before intermission, Rum Tum Tugger (David Hibbard) came off the stage and went around a lot of people in the audience towards me. He was standing in front of me, staring. Before I knew it, he took my handbag off my lap and placed it on Dennis’ lap. (He hit Dennis in the face with the strap.) He then grabbed me by both wrists and pulled me up hard from my seat.
I said “NO!” and sat back down. He pulled me again, harder, and lifted me from my seat. I again said “NO!” and sat down again. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Why didn’t he look for somebody else in the audience? Why didn’t he leave me alone?
Then he climbed up on both armrails where I was sitting and, if I didn’t move my head back, his groin would have touched my mouth. He was moving his hips forward and back, saying “Boom, boom, boom!” He shook my head from side to side, and messed up my long hair. To make it worse, there was a bright spotlight aimed right at me.
I couldn’t believe it, the longest playing show on Broadway, and I went there to be humiliated in front of a packed audience and my fiance and his family. After intermission, I couldn’t concentrate or enjoy the other half of the show. I was still shook up about what just happened. Dennis was upset, too, and my evening was just ruined.
When the show ended, people from the audience asked me if I was part of the show. When I answered, “No,” they couldn’t believe it. Afterwards, I unhappily went home, outraged and upset. To this day, I haven’t been able to forget about it. I keep thinking about it over and over. Why did he deliberately set out to make me look like a fool? I felt terrible.
I believe that David Hibbard acted very unprofessionally. It was very unfair to me for him to get a cheap laugh at my expense. This has even caused a strain on my relationship with my fiance. (He felt that maybe he should have done something about it, when the “Cats” performer had his groin in my face.)
I never expected to go to a Broadway show and come out feeling so humiliated.
1330 Park Avenue, Apt. 5G
New York, N.Y. 10029-6022