Jane McDonald Heads Cast in Blackpool CATS

14 April 2015

Jane McDonald is to take the starring role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS when it CATS – Jane McDonald and David Ian with Cats outside Blackpool Opera House returns to Blackpool direct from its sell-out season at the London Palladium in the West End.

It was announced today by Producer David Ian that Jane, who is one of Britain’s best loved singers, presenters and entertainers, will play the role of Grizabella.

The hit show will run at the Blackpool Opera House for a strictly limited eight weeks from 9 July and the Blackpool performances will be the only place theatre-goers can see CATS North of London in 2015.

Speaking at today’s press launch Jane said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be playing Grizabella in CATS. It is an honour to have been selected by Andrew Lloyd Webber and I can't wait for the show to begin in July.

"I will be working with a fantastic production team and cast and I am looking forward to the reaction from audiences in Blackpool.”

Jane rocketed to stardom in 1998 in the BBC 1 docusoap The Cruise and since then she has built up a phenomenal theatre audience, performing incredible live sell out tours and concerts.

She added: “I always enjoy Blackpool and have had some great nights at the Opera House so now to be returning for 2015 in CATS is wonderful and, of course, I can't wait to spend the summer by the seaside."

Adapted from TS Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’, with an amazing musical score that includes the timeless “Memory”, spectacular set designs, stunning costumes and breath-taking choreography, CATS is a magical musical like no other.

On just one special night of the year, all Jellicle cats meet at the Jellicle Ball where Old Deuteronomy, their wise and benevolent leader, makes the Jellicle choice and announces which of them will go up to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life.

CATS has a successful history in Blackpool. It first came to the Opera House in 1989 for an unprecedented six-month run. It then returned to wow audiences in 2003 as part of a national tour.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said he is delighted to be bringing the hit show back to Blackpool.

He said: “Last year the original  "CATS" creative team, Trevor Nunn, Gillian Lynne, John Napier and I got together to re-create the show for the London Palladium and, following a phenomenal run in the West End, I am delighted that we are set to visit Blackpool with our production this summer.

CATS was originally seen in Blackpool 26 years ago when Marti Webb played Grizabella.  I am thrilled that for this return visit Jane McDonald is to join our Company to take on the role.   We are all very much looking forward to returning to the Opera House in July.” 

Director Trevor Nunn added: “We are so pleased be returning to Blackpool with our production of CATS and are looking forward to seeing John Napier’s extraordinary set back at the Opera House.

“Since its world premier in 1981 CATS has been performed extensively around the world and we are delighted to be bringing our cast of 30 performers direct from the West End to Blackpool’s historic theatre destination.”

One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, CATS has been seen by more than 73 million people and enchanted audiences in more than 300 cities around the world – now you too have the chance to experience this legendary musical phenomenon.

Michael Williams, managing director of Blackpool Winter Gardens, said: “We are thrilled Jane McDonald has been cast for Blackpool. Jane has performed on the Opera House stage a number of times and her shows are always a great success.

“I have no doubt she will make a fantastic Grizabella and I look forward to welcoming Jane along with this amazing show this summer.”

CATS is directed by Trevor Nunn, with Gillian Lynne as Associate Director and Choreographer and designs by John Napier.  Book is by T. S. Eliot with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

CATS was originally produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group Limited.

CATS will be at Blackpool Opera House from Thursday 9 July to Sunday 6 September.

Tickets priced form £20 are on sale now and are available from www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk

Showtimes

Thursday 9 July (preview night), Opening Night Friday 10 July to Sunday 6 September 2015

(Tuesday – Sunday evenings at 7.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm)

There will be NO performances 4 – 9 August.

ENDS

14 APRIL 2015

Notes to editors: Pics attached from today’s launch of CATS at Blackpool Opera House

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Rhodes, Rhodes Media

T: 01253 477480 E: sarah@rhodesmedia.com

Blackpool Opera House is one of the UK's largest theatres, with a seating capacity of almost 3,000. It's a world famous venue which has seen performances from some of the greatest entertainers and shows such as stars of yesteryear Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Bob Hope to today's biggest names including Bob Dylan, Peter Kay, One Direction and Little Mix. Many of the most popular touring shows have graced the stage including Mamma Mia!, Starlight Express, Calendar Girls and Scrooge.

The Winter Gardens Blackpool offers a variety of venues for events ranging from business lunches to exhibitions and conferences. 11 separate spaces are available for hire either individually or in combination. Whether it be the grandeur of The Empress Ballroom or The Opera House, the vast space of Olympia or the more intimate surroundings of The Spanish Hall Suite, each of the venues has its own unique character and history – the perfect setting for any event.

The Winter Gardens celebrated its 135th birthday in 2013.

Jane McDonald is one of Britain’s best loved singers, presenters and entertainers. She rocketed to stardom in 1998 in the BBC 1 docusoap The Cruise with 13 million viewers.

Jane’s first album went straight to Number 1, achieving platinum status. She has gone on to achieve numerous gold and silver discs. In 2009 Jane released a new album Jane on her own record label which entered UK Album Chart at Number 7, achieving silver status. 2010 saw the 2nd release on her own label with the CD/DVD of Live at the London Palladium. In 2014 The Singer of Your Song Deluxe Edition shot to the top of the Amazon Pop Vocal Chart including 3 of her own compositions. Her new dance album Remixed has taken the club charts by storm.

On ITV1 Daytime Jane was a panelist on Loose Women for 10 years which won three TV Quick Awards and a National TV Award during Jane’s time on the show and her own series Star Treatment. Jane fronted two series of her own Saturday night prime time show Star For A Night on BBC1.

 Jane has built up a phenomenal theatre audience, performing incredible live sell out tours and concerts, selling out the Royal Albert Hall and London Palladium twice. She performed on the Royal Variety Show twice and in Midsummer Magic in Lincoln, the Wicked Women concert in Hyde Park, the Chelmsford Festival and Harewood House, both with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and at Blenheim Palace

 Jane performed twice with the BBC Concert Orchestra for Friday Night Is Music Night and made her West End acting debut in Romeo and Juliet The Musical at London's Piccadilly Theatre.

 Jane performed a sell out concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as well as the David Foster and Friends Concert at the Mandalay Bay Arena in Las Vegas and was honoured to perform at the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, London. 

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