CATS mu­si­cal re­turns by pop­u­lar de­mand

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

Abbey Mu­si­cal Theatre (AMT) has fond mem­o­ries of An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s mega mu­si­cal CATS.

When it was per­formed in Palmer­ston North nine years ago, it was the high­est at­tended show ever staged at the Re­gent on Broad­way.

So with the en­dur­ing mu­si­cal still play­ing to packed houses around the world, AMT de­cided it was time for CATS to strut the stage again.

Pro­duc­tion man­ager John Spel­man says 12,000 peo­ple saw the show back in 2007 and, since then, peo­ple and per­form­ers have asked when it will re­turn.

AMT, in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Re­gent on Broad­way, has con­firmed the CATS sea­son will growl and prowl from Au­gust 12-27.

CATS is a spec­tac­u­lar show and one of John’s favourites which he’s seen many times around the world. ‘‘We’ve bought the im­pres­sive set and cos­tumes from the con­sor­tium that toured CATS last time and their im­pact on the au­di­ence will be huge,’’ John says.

AMT is very grat­i­fied with the line up of tal­ent who’ll star in the pro­duc­tion.

‘‘It’s a who’s who of Manawatu per­form­ers who’ll move, pos­ture and mimic the story and songs in an un­for­get­table way,’’ he says.

Al­ready, last year’s MAMMA MIA! chore­og­ra­pher, Teesh Sz­abo, is work­ing with the cast be­fore codi­rec­tors Barry Jones and Gil­lian Col­lett take over.

In one of the fa­mous CATS num­bers, Griz­abella sings ‘‘Mid­night, not a sound from the pave­ment.’’ The words her­ald an ex­plo­sion of mu­sic and lights as the tribe of Jel­li­cle Cats re­unite for one spe­cial night to cel­e­brate. They emerge sing­ing about their unique abil­i­ties, tal­ents and spe­cial traits.

In a stun­ning se­quence of events they in­tro­duce them­selves, wait­ing for their wise old leader, Old Deuteron­omy, to de­cide which of them will jour­ney to The Heav­i­side Layer to be re­born into a new life.

We meet such in­trigu­ing mog­gies as Rum Tum Tug­ger, Busto­pher Jones, Growltiger, Gus the Theatre Cat, Mun­go­jer­rie, Rumpel­teazer, Skim­ble­shanks, the mag­i­cal Mr Mistof­folees and the vil­lain­ous Ma­cav­ity.

When Old Deuteron­omy ar­rives, the cats en­ter­tain him with a spe­cial show which leads into the as­tound­ing Jel­li­cle Ball, the great an­nual dance where all of them cel­e­brate. How­ever, noth­ing is straight­for­ward. Ma­cav­ity isn’t a mon­ster of de­prav­ity for noth­ing and at­tempts to kid­nap Old Deuteron­omy. Only Rum Tum Tug­ger, to­gether with Mr Mistof­folees, the conjuring cat, can save the day. Mr Mistof­folees uses his mag­i­cal pow­ers to try and find

It’s a who’s who of Manawatu per­form­ers who’ll move, pos­ture and mimic the story and songs in an un­for­get­table way. John Spel­man

Old Deuteron­omy.

Fi­nally the mo­ment comes for the wise old leader to make his choice. With perfect tim­ing Griz­abella re­turns, re­call­ing her mem­ory of how things used to be. She’s ac­cepted back into the tribe and cho­sen by Old Deuteron­omy to be re­born.

John ex­plains the show ex­presses ev­ery emo­tion and the ac­tion ranges from dar­ing and dan­ger­ous to near dis­as­ter. How­ever, at the end, Griz­abella jour­neys to a new life on The Heav­i­side Layer.

AMT’s CATS runs at the Re­gent on Broad­way from Au­gust 12-27. Book­ings: Tick­et­Di­rect 0800224224 or con­tact tick­et­di­rect.co.nz.

A spec­tac­u­lar shot from AMT’s last pro­duc­tion of CATS in 2007.

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