MANILA – Two more weeks have been added to the Manila run of “Cats,” one of the longest-running shows in West End and on Broadway, due to popular demand.
The musical, presented by David Ian Productions, will now be staged at The Theatre at Solaire from November 6 to December 1.
Reprising the lead role of Grizabella is theater veteran Joanna Ampil, who has starred in West End musicals such as “Miss Saigon,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and “Avenue Q.”
While she has performed in “Cats” in other countries, this will be her first show as Grizabella in Manila.
“We’ve performed in China and Hong Kong and it was very well-received… I’ve always wanted to bring ‘Cats’ to Manila and we finally have the chance, so I’m really excited. I’m nervous also, but more excited,” the West End star said in a press conference on Thursday.
“Cats” was first staged in Manila back in 2010, with Tony Award winner Lea Salonga taking on the role of Grizabella.
Ampil is aware that many Filipinos may “have expectations” on how the show will go this time around, but she is optimistic that theatergoers here will appreciate her take on the lead character.
“So many have performed this role, but I find that people are still open to new interpretations,” she said. “I’m very lucky that they’ve liked our interpretation [in other countries] so far, and I hope it’s the same here.”
“It also has a different look, it’s going to be updated, so they’ll see a different Grizabella. Every performance is different,” she added.
When asked what first-time viewers and the younger generation can look forward to in the upcoming “Cats” musical in Manila, Ampil replied: “Basically you enter this world of cats and you become oblivious to what’s happening outside, because it’s a completely different world. The audience members, they become voyeurs of what’s happening on stage.”
She went on: “It’s mesmerizing, I’m still amazed by the music. It still gets me even if I’ve been doing it for so long. It’s still fresh. There’s always something new that you can find.”