This show has nine lives: 30 years in the junkyard

The Cats are on the prowl again as the 30th anniversary tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical rolls into town next week.

Larry Lozier Jr performs in the 30th anniversary tour of Cats.

Based on the book of T.S Eliot children’s poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the Tony Award winning musical has both the second-longest running musical in Broadway history and the longest continuously running touring show in the United States.  Its durability has seen it performed in 26 countries and translated into ten languages.

Among the junkyard felines on this anniversary tour, sanctioned by Sir Andrew himself, is Larry Lozier Jr., the handsome assistant dance captain and swing performer who on any given night could play one of nine different cats including Coricopat and Tantomile, who were last seen in the Broadway production and resurrected for this tour.

His second tour with Cats, Lozier says that as a swing the role he plays on any given night can change in an instant.

“Sometimes we have about 12 minutes to go from human to cat, putting on the complicated make-up and into costume,” said Lozier from his hotel in Mississauga.  “Fortunately all of us swings work as a team and help each other out.”

Like children, Lozier is reluctant to name his favourite although he does say that being able to reinvent Coricopat, who hasn’t been seen on stage for some years, is exciting.

“I have grown attached to him,” admitted Lozier.  “It is so much fun to be one of the first to bring him back to stage.  The other eight are so special though … there is an aspect of each that I love and attach to.”

With few musicals able to boast the same pedigree as Cats, Lozier says its longevity comes from the new generations that come out to experience it.

“New generations are introduced to theatre through this show,” said Lozier.  “Cats is a great family show and it is safe show to introduce kids to musicals.  It’s also such a spectacle.”

On a more serious side Lozier also acknowledges Cats place in musical theatre history not just for its longevity but for its groundbreaking work.

“In the 80s this was such a changer for musical theatre, morphing musical theatre into a whole new direction.  To now be part of that as it turns 30 is something I won’t soon forget.”

Cats
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
10 – 15 April 2012

There’s no better way to introduce your family to the wonders of live theatre than with the magic, the mystery, the memory of Cats. What began as a musical about cats after Andrew Lloyd Webber picked up a book of poems in an airport bookshop has become one of the longest running shows in Broadway’s history. Visit http://vancouver.broadway.com for tickets and information.

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