IM­PRES­SIVE LINE UP OF TAL­ENT IN CATS

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

One of the most tal­ented line ups of all time has been as­sem­bled by Abbey Mu­si­cal The­atre (AMT) for their spec­tac­u­lar pro­duc­tion of CATS which opens at the Re­gent On Broad­way this Fri­day.

Many of them have had a long and suc­cess­ful in­volve­ment with AMT and the en­sem­ble na­ture of CATS al­lows them to strut their stuff in the on stage cameo roles.

In the story, based on T.S. Eliot’s po­ems, the tribe of Jel­li­cle cats re­unite for one night to cel­e­brate. They emerge singing about their unique abil­i­ties, tal­ents and special traits.

Cen­tral to the nar­ra­tive is Old Deuteron­omy; fa­ther, grand­fa­ther or un­cle of most of the cats. They en­ter­tain him with a special show which leads into the Jel­li­cle Ball, the great an­nual dance where all of them cel­e­brate. When the time ar­rives for the wise old leader to de­cide who’ll be el­e­vated to The Heav­i­side Layer, the di­shev­elled Griz­abella re­turns. With re­luc­tance she’s ac­cepted back into the tribe and cho­sen by Old Deuteron­omy to be re­born.

Per­form­ing the key role of Old Deuteron­omy is David Lea, a stage veteran of nearly 60 years. David’s cred­its in­clude Tevye in Fid­dler On the Roof, Daddy War­bucks in An­nie and Mr Bum­ble in OLIVER! David sees his role as fa­therly and piv­otal to the mu­si­cal.

Jo Sale as Griz­abella has starred in AMT pro­duc­tions for nearly 20 years. Her roles in­clude Fan­tine in Les Mis­er­ables, Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street, Eva Peron in EVITA and Sarah Brown in Guys And Dolls.

Jo loves the dra­matic role which she says “holds the show to­gether”. Her singing of Mem­ory will be one of many high­lights.

Michael Doody as Munkus­trap is a leader of the tribe. As the son of Griz­abella and Old Deuteron­omy, he is sen­si­ble, coura­geous and charis­matic. Michael comes to AMT from Christchurch and his cred­its al­ready in­clude Sky, the boyfriend, in MAMMA MIA! and sup­port­ing roles in Bri­tish In­va­sion, Sweeney Todd and The Phan­tom of the Opera.

Val An­drew who last year starred as Donna, the lead­ing role in MAMMA MIA!, is lov­ing her 10th AMT show as Jel­ly­lo­rum, the posh, warm, friendly “fancy feast” cat. As well as Donna, Val has per­formed Florence in CHESS, Miss Han­ni­gan in An­nie and a mem­o­rable Car­lotta in The Phan­tom of the Opera. Rumpel­teazer, a naughty, high spir­ited young cat who likes to be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion, is played by Cara Hes­selin. Cara is an ex­cep­tional mover and has danced her way through Dis­ney’s Beauty and the Beast, Je­sus Christ Su­per­star, Hair­spray, 42nd Street, MAMMA MIA!

and AMT’s first pro­duc­tion of CATS in 2007. An­drew Jamieson (AJ) was thrilled to be cho­sen as Rum Tum Tug­ger, the ex­tro­vert and re­bel­lious Elvis cat. AJ is a stal­wart of AMT and has per­formed such roles as Je­sus in God­spell, Ju­das in Je­sus Christ Su­per­star, Danny in Grease, Ritchie Valens in Buddy and has toured in the Chicago cast which in­cluded Michael Bar­ry­more and Tina Cross.

These char­ac­ters, to­gether with the other ex­cep­tional per­form­ers, prom­ise a “not to be missed” show that will be the mu­si­cal the­atre high­light of 2016.

Pusses with a purr-puss. A line-up of stars from CATS. (from left) David Lea (Old Deuteron­omy), Cara Hes­selin (Rumpel­teaser, kneel­ing), Val An­drew (Jel­ly­lo­rum), An­drew Jamieson (Rum TumTug­ger), Jo Sale (Griz­abella) and Michael Doody (Munkus­trap).

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