Feline phenomenon claws back to Seoul

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Feline phenomenon claws back to Seoul


A scene from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Cats,” which will open in Seoul on July 6. Provided by the producers

Even those who are not big fans of musicals have probably found themselves humming to the tune of “Memory” or singing the song’s opening line, “All alone in the moonlight, I can smile at the old days, I was beautiful then.”
For those who can’t get this song out of their heads, fear not. “Cats,” the much- anticipated and much-loved Andrew Lloyd Weber musical is coming to town.
The musical, which has been staged at Daegu’s Opera House since May 31, will be playing in Seoul at the National Theater of Korea from July 6 and Sept. 2.
It will then move on to Gwangju and Daejeon.
The musical, based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” is in Seoul as part of an extensive world tour that includes Taiwan, China, Thailand, Macao, Italy, Germany, Turkey and Dubai. It started in February and runs through 2008.
Considering that the original “Cats” cast staged its final performance on May 11 2002 at London’s West End, where it had opened on May 11 1981, the significance of this tour is that it offers the last opportunity for a global audience to see the famous street cats, including Rum Tum Tugger, Grizabella, Bustopher Jones and Jennyanydots, all dancing and prowling on stage to Weber’s famous tunes.
This is the second time “Cats” has been on in Korea.
It was previously staged in 2003. During the last Korean tour more than 380,000 people saw the show, which suggests the musical still has wide appeal.
According to Clip Service, which has organized the 2007 “Cats’ visit to Korea, the difference between the last tour and this one is that the cast members are younger and the performance is more powerful, with more energy in the dance numbers and a larger orchestra.
One of the plus points of this tour is that Francesca Arena, who has previously performed in other famous Lloyd-Weber musicals, such as “Evita” and “Les Miserables,” will be playing the role of Grizabella, the old grey cat who is chased away by other cats. She won praise for her performances while “Cats” was in Daegu.
The director of traveling performance is Joanne Robinson, who has worked with Sir Trevor Nunn, the original director of “Cats” This will be Robinson’s third visit to Korea.
Tickets range from 130,000 won for VIP seats to 40,000 won during weekdays. On weekends prices rise by 10,000 won, except for the 40,000 won seats.
The performance last for 2 hours and 40 minutes and starts at 8 p.m. on weekdays. On Saturdays there is a 3 p.m. matinee, as well as the 8 p.m. show. On Sundays and holidays the first show will be at 2 p.m. and the last at 7 p.m.
For more information call 02-501-7888 or visit the Web site at www.musicalcats.co.kr.

By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Writer [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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