CATS tops Sale’s bucket-list roles

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR EVENTS AND ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE -

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.

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