CATS tops Sale’s bucket-list roles
When it comes to Jo Sale’s bucket list, Grizabella from CATS, one of two roles at the top.
Now she has the opportunity to fulfil her dream by playing Grizabella in Abbey Musical Theatre’s (AMT) CATS which opens at the Regent on Broadway on August 12.
Grizabella was once a glam puss who left the Jellicle tribe but has now returned old and withered. The other cats are repulsed by her appearance but, when she starts to sing the highly emotional and poignant Memory, she’s accepted back.
Old Deuteronomy takes pity on her and consigns her to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn.
‘‘It’s a song that builds from despair and longing, ‘when I was beautiful then’, and reaches an intensely vulnerable, yet hopeful, conclusion,’’ Jo says. ‘‘I’ve always wanted the role in my repertoire.’’
Jo has the ultimate musical theatre voice and when she sings Memory people may think of Elaine Paige or Barbra Streisand or Delta Goodrem, but Jo has made the number entirely her own.
For AMT’s spectacular production, she’s done her research. She’s read T.S. Eliot’s poems that inspired the musical and the fragment of verse he wrote which led to Andrew Lloyd Webber creating the remarkable character.
She’s listened to other interpretations and then, in conjunction with the CATS choreographer and co-directors, she created her own unique personality. is
‘‘I know the audience will respond to the number. The song tugs at the heart strings and leads the show to an incredible climax,’’ Jo says.
CATS provides Jo with an appearance like you’ve never seen before. She wears an impressive cat costume with a tail and stunning facial make-up that will grab and hold the audience’s attention whenever she appears.
‘‘Fortunately my costume is flexible and allows me to perform the role without restriction,’’ she says with relief.
Jo’s been a loyal member of AMT for more than 30 years. She started as a 12 year old in the junior choir led by Audrey Osborne and then progressed from chorus to supporting parts and then starring roles. Her folio of achievements includes leads in Les Mise´rables, EVITA, 42nd Street, Guys and Dolls, Nunsense and many more. She starred in EVITA, Cabaret and CHESS in Auckland and Chicago in Wellington. There was even a national tour as a pumpkin in Cinderella, which starred Windsor Davies. ‘‘We butter-nut mention that,’’ she said.
As for the other role in her bucket list – that’s Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and Jo will quietly raise that with AMT once CATS is over
AMT’S CATS, with choreographer Teesh Szabo and co-directors Gillian Collett and Barry Jones, runs at the Regent from August 12-27. Bookings at TicketDirect 0800-224-224 or contact www.ticketdirect.co.nz.