Nine Lives and Three Decades Later, Cats National Tour Purrs Its Way Across U.S. With New Dates
By Adam Hetrick
Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-running hit Cats is prowling North America in a new 30th anniversary tour that launched Dec. 8 at the Johnny Mercer Theatre in Savannah, GA.
Lloyd Webber sanctioned the non-equity tour that features the original direction, choreography, scenic, lighting and costume design from the London and Broadway productions. Richard Stafford re-created Trevor Nunn's direction and Gillian Lynne's choreography for the tour. John Napier designed the original physical production, which had lighting by David Hersey.
Based on T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats," the musical became an international phenomenon and has continuously toured the U.S. for 30 years in various union and non-union productions. In 1991 Cats became the longest-running continuous tour in U.S. history. Cats produced the stand-out single "Memory."
Cats opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre Oct. 7, 1982, where it ran for 7,485 performances before closing Sept. 10, 2000. It held the title of Broadway's longest-running musical, but was surpassed by Lloyd Webber's other hit, The Phantom of the Opera, which currently holds the title. Cats won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Lighting and Best Costumes.
The current 28-stop tour also incorporates the characters of Coricopat and Tantomile, the "psychic twin" cats, which were last represented on stage in the Broadway production.
The cast includes Felipe Barbosa Bombonato, Ashley Chasteen, Molly Emerson, Erica Leigh Hansen, Amanda Lamotte, Madison Mitchell, Hillary Porter, Daniel J. Self, Chris Stevens, Brad Trump, Rachel Boone, Craig Donnelly, Blayne Gregg-Miller, Katharine Heaton, Larry A. Lozier, Jr., Nathan Morgan, Kristen Quartarone, Clinton James Sherwood, Daniel Switzer, Robert Burke, Jordan Dunlap, Melissa Grohowski, Jamie Joseph, Candace Lyn Luther, Louie Napoleon, Elizabeth Ruff, Christopher E. Sidoli, Lucas Thompson and Chaz Wolcott.
J. Michael Duff is musical director for the tour. Kristen Blodgette is musical supervisor. Original orchestrations are by Lloyd Webber and David Cullen.
The current tour schedule for Cats follows:
Dec. 27-Jan. 1, 2012 (San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose, CA)
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