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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats returns to Toronto

All-Canadian cast to open in Cats at Panasonic Theatre on June 11
By: Richard Ouzounian Theatre Critic, Published on Fri Feb 08 2013

A new, all-Canadian version of Cats will open at the Panasonic Theatre on June 11, the Star has learned.

It’s been 28 years since the original Canadian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s show about feline follies in an all-night junkyard first exploded onto the Toronto scene at the Elgin Theatre, starting our city’s love affair with the mega-musical.

Although Cats has played here 10 times over the years, there hasn’t been a fully Canadian production since the initial one, which is probably one of the reasons that more than 400 actors showed up for the first audition this past week.

The upcoming production is bringing one of the show’s original producers, Marlene Smith, back to the world of Toronto theatre.

Smith began as group sales manager for the legendary production of Hair at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in 1970, went on to become company manager of the 1972 Godspell that starred Victor Garber, Andrea Martin, Martin Short and many others, and launched a series of intimate revues like What’s a Nice Country Like You Doing in a State Like This? that solidified Toronto’s position as a centre for cabaret theatre in the 1970s.

While Smith represents the virtues and knowledge of the past (with her son Geoffrey making it a family affair), she’ll be joined by three other producers who bring a fresh, young perspective to this production.

Corey Ross has become one of Toronto’s most successful producers in recent years, best known for his runaway success with Potted Potter, which followed its smash run in Toronto with extended engagements in New York and Chicago that duplicated its Hogtown success.

David Galpern and Charles Roy of Toronto’s Classical Theatre Project round out the picture, bringing their expertise at touring and reaching out to audiences of all ages. Since founding their company in 2001, their productions have played to more than 1,000,000 students across North America.

This production will be directed by Dave Campbell, who has four previous productions of Cats across Canada to his credit, and choreographed by Gino Berti.

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