A staple of Broadway for many years, the famed Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats (based on poet T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats) is soon to have its biggest staging yet. Stagecoach Theatre Arts will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in spectacular fashion by putting on a one-time-only production of Cats on March 24 that will feature 3,000 performers.
To be held in Birmingham, England at the U.K.’s National Indoor Arena, the performance will have a main cast of 500 singers and 50 dancers, and they will be accompanied by 2,500 young performers, ranging from ages 7 to 18.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that so many young people will be able to take part in this very special performance of Cats,” said Andrew Lloyd Webber in a statement. “Happy 25th Birthday Stagecoach and thank you for giving your students the opportunity to perform the show in such a spectacular way.”
A few weeks ago the hit Broadway revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice musical Evita announced that stars Ricky Martin, Elena Roger, and Michael Cerveris would be departing in January and that a new slate of stars to replace them would soon be announced. However, it appears that suitable replacements were not found, and the musical is now scheduled to conclude its run on January 26, 2013 when the current leads depart.
One of Evita‘s producers, Hal Luftig, stated, “Our extensive search for a new cast presented the significant challenges of not only replacing a high-caliber trio of stars but also synchronizing the schedules of potential replacements with that of the production. Despite going down the road with a variety of artists, the planets have simply not aligned for us to engage the right talent at the right time.”
When Evita closes at the Marquis Theatre next month, it will have played 26 preview performances and 337 regular performances. A national tour of the Tony Award nominated production is expected to launch in September of 2013.
A re-invented take on the Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice classic Jesus Christ Superstar has just had a successful opening at London’s 02 Arena (better known as a concert stage and, more recently, Olympics venue). And now, theater fans across the Atlantic will get to view this production, dubbed the Jesus Christ Superstar UK Rock Spectacular, from the comfort of their local movie theaters. Select theaters in the U.S. will show the production on October 29 and then again on November 1. Visit www.FathomEvents.com to see where it is playing and to purchase tickets.
Jesus Christ Superstar has been on an arena tour throughout the United Kingdom. The broadcast being shown in movie theaters was recorded at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England earlier this month. Andrew Lloyd Webber was quoted as saying, “I have waited 42 years for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ to play arenas in the UK, and it is great to finally see the show as it was originally intended, as an arena rock opera.”
The production stars Ben Forster, selected by the British public, in the role of Jesus. The rest of the cast features a number of personalities known in England, including Tim Minchin (co-author of the forthcoming Broadway musical Matilda) as Judas, DJ Chris Moyles as Herod, and Melanie C of the Spice Girls as Mary Magdalene.