Tapping to the top
NOT many people can say they earn a living tap dancing with cockroaches in a junkyard while pretending to be a cat, but Perth musical theatre performer Holly Meegan is doing just that.
The 2011 WAAPA graduate has played the role of Jennyanydots in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats since it toured South Korea, Singapore and Macau in 2014, before heading to New Zealand and Australia, where it finishes with a Perth season from April 16.
“Cats has absolutely changed my life,” Meegan said.
“I got to fulfil my dream of performing in a professional musical and have just learnt so much about the craft, performing and myself; it's been epic and wonderful.”
Meegan grew up in Donnybrook before her family moved to Karrinyup when she was 13 for her high school education at John XXIII College.
She began opera training but soon realised the world of musical theatre was her calling, helpfully learning how to tap dance at WAAPA.
“The tap dance I'm doing now is a new version to the one I was performing at the start of the tour,” Meegan said.
“This New Zealand/Australian production is the London revival version, so it was more of a military-style tap dance before and now it's like a Broadway 42nd
Street number.” Having auditioned for three characters in the musical, Meegan said her heart had been set on playing nanny cat of the tribe Jennyanydots.
“I felt so connected to her and really fell in love with the part, so I was obviously thrilled when I was offered it,” she said.
“She is very practical, caring and can be a little bit bossy at times to the kittens.
“I've got younger brothers and sisters, so I have that kind of experience of being a bit of a mother hen.”
Meegan said ironically she prepared for the musical, based on T.S. Eliot's poetry, by searching for the humanity in her character before finding her feline physicality.
“They guided us in the right direction but it was all about finding what was right for our own bodies,” she said.
“Once you accept you're a cat, in a world of cats, you then learn how to express yourself and incorporate the felinity in it as well.”
Community Newspaper Group has 10 double passes to giveaway to Cats on Saturday, April 16. Enter at www.community news.com.au by February 15.
Holly Meegan as Jennyanydots in Cats.