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The musical Cats returns with great success to the Anfiteatro of Havana

Published: 2017.06.28 - 11:39:17   /  /  Miguel Darío García Porto  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

The musical "Cats" returns with great success to the Anfiteatro of HavanaA new season of the musical show "Cats" takes to the stage at the Anfiteatro of the Historical Center of Havana, with the objective of rediscovering a classic of all time through a talented and young cast.

This version, which is directed by Alfonso Menéndez, includes the 14 musical numbers of the original, and it is on the billboard every Saturday and Sunday at 9:00 p.m.

Based on the book of children's poems ‘Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats’ by the English poet Thomas Stearns Eliot, Nobel Prize for Literature, the original musical is by Andrew Lloyd Webber, one of the most recognized theatrical composers of the twentieth century.

"Cats" has become one of the most performed musicals in history and the Cuban version, directed by Alfonso Menéndez, aims to achieve a favorable reception by the public equal to or greater than that achieved in the season of its premiere in Cuba in April 2011.

The work tries to submerge the spectators in a magical and real world that shows virtues, defects and badness of a cat community that much resembles the human one.

"This version has its 14 numbers and is a little strange work because it is from a book by T. S. Eliot that Webber made a musical that nobody wanted to buy it, and it is called a Story of Cats. It is a community of felines that meet in a yard once a year, in a wilderness plot. The Cat Salem - father of all cats - comes along to choose which cat will go to heavenly Eden, that is, to the other life.’’

"Every member of the community in front of the Cat Salem demonstrates their abilities, but there is a cat that is very glamorous when she was young and ... That is the overview of Cats ", comments Alfonso Menéndez, director of the setting and the Anfiteatro of Havana, who leaves us waiting to know the end and invites us to attend the performance.

Although Maestro Menéndez reports that at the premiere in April 2011, there were 72 performances at the Anfiteatro and four in other venues, the performance was removed from the billboard with full public in all presentations.

"At that time a wardrobe and a rather discreet set were made, but now that we are repeating it is with a remarkable improvement of the previous set, and this time we made the costumes from the 1998 feature film produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on the theatrical version."

The director of the Anfiteatro of Havana reports that the costumes and heads were very similar; "we made heads with the face up to the height of the lips and makeup is only applied on the chin and part of the nose."

In addition, Menéndez points out that the new version has better technology and for that reason the main numbers are performed live, but he says that it took a lot of work to find the person who made Cat Salem and Cat Grizabella, the character who left the group and returns to the end of the play waiting to be chosen.

"Grizabella has to sing a very famous solo called ‘Memory’, which is sung five times in the original work, but in our version it is sung twice, and one of them in Spanish because I made the adaptation to it. However, the piece is written in a very difficult tessitura and we also needed a cat that would dance, achieve those vocal qualities and could be committed to the Anfiteatro for six months and that was very difficult to find, but we succeeded and here is the version for the enjoyment of the whole public.’’

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