Jane McDonald is to take the starring role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS when it returns to Blackpool direct from its sell-out season at the London Palladium in the West End.

It was announced today by Producer David Ian that Jane, who is one of Britain’s best loved singers, presenters and entertainers, will play the role of Grizabella.

The hit show will run at the Blackpool Opera House for a strictly limited eight weeks from 9 July and the Blackpool performances will be the only place theatre-goers can see CATS North of London in 2015.

Speaking at today’s press launch Jane said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be playing Grizabella in CATS. It is an honour to have been selected by Andrew Lloyd Webber and I can’t wait for the show to begin in July.

“I will be working with a fantastic production team and cast and I am looking forward to the reaction from audiences in Blackpool.”

Jane rocketed to stardom in 1998 in the BBC 1 docusoap The Cruise and since then she has built up a phenomenal theatre audience, performing incredible live sell out tours and concerts.

She added: “I always enjoy Blackpool and have had some great nights at the Opera House so now to be returning for 2015 in CATS is wonderful and, of course, I can’t wait to spend the summer by the seaside.”

CATS has a successful history in Blackpool. It first came to the Opera House in 1989 for an unprecedented six-month run. It then returned to wow audiences in 2003 as part of a national tour.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said he is delighted to be bringing the hit show back to Blackpool.

He said: “Last year the original  “CATS” creative team, Trevor Nunn, Gillian Lynne, John Napier and I got together to re-create the show for the London Palladium and, following a phenomenal run in the West End, I am delighted that we are set to visit Blackpool with our production this summer.

CATS was originally seen in Blackpool 26 years ago when Marti Webb played Grizabella.  I am thrilled that for this return visit Jane McDonald is to join our Company to take on the role.   We are all very much looking forward to returning to the Opera House in July.”

Director Trevor Nunn added: “We are so pleased be returning to Blackpool with our production of CATS and are looking forward to seeing John Napier’s extraordinary set back at the Opera House.

“Since its world premier in 1981 CATS has been performed extensively around the world and we are delighted to be bringing our cast of 30 performers direct from the West End to Blackpool’s historic theatre destination.”

One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, CATS has been seen by more than 73 million people and enchanted audiences in more than 300 cities around the world – now you too have the chance to experience this legendary musical phenomenon.

Michael Williams, managing director of Blackpool Winter Gardens, said: “We are thrilled Jane McDonald has been cast for Blackpool. Jane has performed on the Opera House stage a number of times and her shows are always a great success.

“I have no doubt she will make a fantastic Grizabella and I look forward to welcoming Jane along with this amazing show this summer.”

CATS is directed by Trevor Nunn, with Gillian Lynne as Associate Director and Choreographer and designs by John Napier. Book is by T. S. Eliot with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

CATS was originally produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group Limited.

CATS will be at Blackpool Opera House from Thursday 9 July to Sunday 6 September.[/fusion_text]

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