Cats on a hot Cape stage

Johannesburg - Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats is set to open in Cape Town early in December - in terms of copyright agreements a direct copy of the London, New York and any other performances where the musical has enchanted audiences.

The company of cats will arrive in Pretoria next year in March for a season at the State Theatre.

The South African premiere is presented by Artscape (the former Pact) and Pieter Toerien Productions and the organisation recently announced the cast. Cape dancer Jaunita Yazbek formerly of Pact Ballet company is to captain the troupe of dancing cats through the dark back streets of lust and survival.

Several dancers, actors and singers from the north are included in the production and include Taryn Sudding, last seen here in The Rocky Horror Show and more recently in Annie, as Bombalurina; Paul Warwick-Griffin of Rocky Horror fame and who took the title role in Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar in the State Theatre, as Rum Tum Tugger; Angela Killian who shone in Marilyn at The Mixer was chosen to miaou as Griddlebone; and the role of Jennyanydots is taken by Fem Belling.

Gareth Dry, the blonde singer who attracted attention in My Way at the Off Broadway in Norwood and who is among the many products of the genre produced by the Technikon Pretoria, is included in the ensemble.

The English artistic team, who produced Cats twenty years ago for the first time and reaped all the most important entertainment prizes in the process, is to present the musical in South Africa.

Cat roles were allocated to the following:
Grizabella (Slindile Nodangala),
Old Deuteronomy (Marcus Desando),
Bombalurina (Taryn Sudding),
Rum Tum Tugger (Paul Warwick-Griffin),
Asparagus, Bustopher, Jones and Growltiger (Warren Kimmel),
Munkustrap (Anton Luitingh),
Jellylorum and Griddlebone (Angela Killian),
Cassandra (Catherine Daymond),
Alonzo and Rumpus Cat (Clinton Meneses)
Demeter (Jo Galloway),
Mr Mistoffelees (Robin van Wyk),
Plato and Macavity (Coert Grobbelaar),
Tantomile (Christy Johnson),
Coricopat (Hendrick January),
Jennyanydots (Fem Belling),
Mungojerrie (Gareth Hewill Williams),
Pouncival (Mani Irving),
Rumpleteazer (Chireen Ferreira),
Sillabub (Anitra Davel),
Skimbleshanks (Darryl Evans),
Tumblebrutus (Grant Puchet),
Carbuckety (Gary Birch) and Victoria (Marize Nel).

The ensemble: Katherine Lipp, Melani Johnson, Marie Louise Midcalf, Duane Alexander, Karabo Maithuti, Tereza du Plessis, Pierre van Heerden and Gareth Dry.

The State Theatre season starts on May 3. Booking opens on Wednesday, October 31 at Computicket or Teletix by credit card at (011) 340 8000.

Enquiries: (011) 511 1818.

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