For the first time ay ii-stage sa Pilipinas ang isa sa longest-running hit Broadway musical ni Andrew Lloyd Webber na Cats. Ito ay magaganap simula sa July 24, 2010 sa CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. At isang karangalan para sa international Filipino star na si Lea Salonga ang gumanap bilang isa sa mga bida ng naturang musical.
PLAYING GRIZABELLA. Gagampanan ni Lea ang papel na Grizabella sa Cats. Ang mga kilalang theater actresses na gumanap na sa role na ito ay sila Elaine Paige (at London’s West End in 1982) at Betty Buckley (on Broadway in 1982).
Kaya nang makapanayam ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Lea sa press junket para sa Cats sa Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City last February 8, sinabi niyang natutuwa siya dahil makakasama na siya sa listahan ng mga mahuhusay na stage actresses na naging bahagi ng naturang musical.
“Playing Grizabella for the first time is like a dream!” sambit ni Lea. “It’s the first time that Cats will be staged in Manila and I am so privileged to be in its cast. I have a few months to prepare for the musical. The role of Grizabella requires not much on the dancing part but it is still physically demanding.
“Grizabella is a former Glamour Cat who wants to be accepted again by her tribe. At a very young age, Grizabella left her tribe to find her place in the outside world. Because of her ambition, she experienced the harshness of the outside world. She wants to be be accepted again by her own kind.
“It’s really mostly acting but there will also be a few dancing and running around the stage with these heavy costumes. But most of all, it’s all about music and I’m preparing my vocal chords as well,” saad pa ng international star.
Masasabi nga ni Lea na ang pagganap bilang Grizabella ang isa sa pinaka-challenging role na kanyang gagampanan sa kanyang career.
“In every role that’s given to me, I make sure that I give it my all,” sabi ni Lea. “It’s first and foremost a job and these producers are paying us actors to do a good job. For me, it’s not just a job but it’s also something that I am passionate about. That’s why I do not just put in what I’ve learned from acting and singing on stage for so many years, I also put in my heart and soul. And if I believe that I gave a good performance, then the people watching will believe it as well.”
Nakilala si Lea sa buong mundo dahil sa kanyang natatanging pagganap bilang Kim sa Miss Saigon in 1989. Nasundan ito ng pagganap niya ng iba’t ibang characters tulad nina Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables; Sandy in Grease; Sonia Walks in They’re Playing Our Song; The Witch in Into The Woods; Mei Li in The Flower Drum Song; Lizzie in Baby; and as Cinderella in musical Cinderella.