Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber recently spoke about the forthcoming Broadway revival of Cats and his decision to have Tony-winning Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler take over for original choreographer Gillian Lynne.
As previously reported, in an interview with thestage.co.uk, two-time Tony nominee Lynne said that decision had angered her, explaining, “It makes me feel like I’d like to murder. I have had a rotten time because of it. I did create the show, I really did.” Lynne said producers of the New York revival told her that the production needed “amazing changes.”
“And we all went: ‘We have just had this amazing success in London—at the London Palladium, twice.’ But he said that was how it was there, and we all turned off then, really,” Lynne said.
Lloyd Webber, in response, told BBC Radio 2 host Elaine Paige that the international hit musical was not being changed, stating, “It’s a huge homage to Gillian Lynne.”
The composer also said, “It will be very much faithful to Gillian’s work. We are so lucky that the choreographer of the hottest show for years grew up on Cats and wanted to take it to a new level.”
Lynne's Broadway credits also include The Phantom of the Opera; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Aspects of Love; How Now, Dow Jones; Pickwick; and The Roar of the Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd. She was Tony-nominated for her choreography for Cats and Phantom.
Composed by Lloyd Webber and based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the original Broadway production opened in 1982 at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre (currently home to Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock —The Musical), where it ran for 7,485 performances over the course of 18 years. The musical was originally produced on Broadway by Cameron Mackintosh, The Really Useful Company Limited, David Geffen and The Shubert Organization.
The revival of Cats will begin previews July 14 prior to an official opening July 31 at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 W. 52nd Street).