CATS Is Pouncing into PPAC

Keri Rene Fuller

Keri Rene Fuller

The new National Tour of the classic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical CATS will kick off at the Providence Performing Arts Center January 22 and will run through January 27.

CATS is based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice” and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

Directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, the show first opened in London’s West End in 1981 and then with the same creative team on Broadway in 1982. The London production ran for 21 years and the Broadway production ran for 18 years, both setting new records.

Keri Rene Fuller plays Grizabella, a former “glamour cat,” who has lost her sparkle and now only wants to be accepted, but is ostracized by the Jellicles. Grizabella sings the show’s most well-known ballad, “Memory.”

“It’s kind of a dream I never knew I had,” Fuller said of being cast in the musical. “This production carries so much weight with musical theater people, with people who know (CATS), with people who don’t know (the musical), so it’s not a pressure to please, it’s more of a pressure to do it justice because it’s such a massive, amazing musical.”

The Oklahoma City native has appeared on Broadway in the musical Waitress and has appeared in regional productions of Murder Ballad, Les Misérables, Lizzie Borden, and Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Fuller believes the enduring popularity of CATS is partially due to its themes of inclusion and belonging.

“Everybody knows what it feels like to not be accepted into a group you previously once (belonged to),” Fuller said. “For me, that is what rings so true and is so poignant today.”

CATS will be performed at the Providence Performing Arts Center from January 22-27. 220 Weybosset St. For tickets, call 401-421-2787 or visit ppacri.org.

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