CATS Choreographer Gillian Lynne 'Very Angry' Over Blankenbuehler Hiring
In a new interview with The Stage, CATS choreographer Gillian Lynne has some strong words for the powers that be behind the upcoming Broadway revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber masterpiece.
Her anger is directed at the recent announcement that HAMILTON choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler will choreograph the revival, based on her original work. Lynne believes the final outcome will bare no resemblance to the original creative team's vision.
Lynne, who also choreographed Lloyd Webber's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, tells The Stage that she is "very angry" over the decision, adding "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."
After the producers behind the upcoming revival told her that the production was in need of "amazing changes," she explains: "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 clarifies that she has no ill will towards Blankenbuehler and praises his choreography skills. Yet she maintains that his work on HAMILTON was mostly based on hip hop, which is not a good fit for a musical such as CATS. "Everyone's point of view is that it will be a brilliant little show," she says, "but it will not be Cats."
She tells The Stage that she has spoken with the Broadway cast and expressed her concerns that they will not be properly taught how to move like a feline.
Lynne also reveals that she has altered the choreography to the 'Masquerade' number of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. The changes will also be introduced into the West End and upcoming Paris productions. She shares, "I saw Phantom and thought: 'Why did I do something as dull as that? I can do better.' So when I was in New York I changed it, and I am going to change it in London."
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British pop star Leona Lewis will play the role of "Grizabella," the Glamour Cat, in the first-ever Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's record-breaking musical, Cats, returning to Broadway this summer at the Neil SimonTheatre. Preview performances are set to begin Thursday, July 14, 2016, and an official opening set for Sunday, July 31, 2016.
Since its world premiere, Cats has been presented in over 30 countries, has been translated into 15 languages, and has been seen by more than 73 million people worldwide. Originally directed by Trevor Nunn with choreography and associate direction by Gillian Lynne, scenic and costume design by John Napier, lighting design by David Hersey, and sound design by Abe Jacob, Catsopened in the West End in 1981. The musical debuted on Broadway in 1982 where it won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Both the original London and Broadway cast recordings won Grammy Awards for Best Cast Album. Cats hit song "Memory" has been recorded by over 150 artists from Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis to Liberace and Barry Manilow. The Tony Award-winning Best Musical held the title of longest- running musical in Broadway history until it was surpassed in 2006 by Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. The original Broadway production closed on September 10, 2000 and is currently the fourth longest-running show in Broadway history. This marks the first New York revival of the beloved musical.
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