IMPRESSIVE LINE UP OF TALENT IN CATS
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).