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Musical Cats playing only in Korea during COVID-19 pandemic

Musical Cats playing only in Korea during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted October. 21, 2020 08:19,   

Updated October. 21, 2020 08:19


Joanna Ampil, who plays Grizabella in Cats, said she is grateful to be on stage when theaters across the world have gone dark due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been 40 years since Cats first opened in London’s West End in 1981. “The Festival of Jellicle Cats,” which has been presented in over 30 countries, is now playing only in Korea. The Cats South Korean Tour, which marks the musical’s 40th anniversary, is the original production that is playing only in South Korea due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The three main protagonistsㅡBrad Little (playing Old Deuteronomy), Joanna Ampil (playing Grizabella), and John Partridge (playing Rum Tum Tugger)ㅡsaid on Tuesday at the Charlotte Theater in Seoul that they are honored to take part in this historic and legendary musical that has been on stage for 40 years without suspension from COVID-19. They expressed their gratitude for fans saying they thought no one would come to watch the musical but they were able to put it on stage thanks to the audience who strictly follow COVID-19 guidelines.

The word “lucky” was mentioned the most during the interview. They said other musical actors and actresses in the U.S. and the U.K. said, “You’re lucky” after hearing that Cats is opening in Korea during the pandemic era. “We’re just doing what we’ve been doing. But we’re also realizing that we’re enjoying a great privilege now” said Partridge. “We were so worried when the country implemented Level 2.5 social distancing measures but Korea made it eventually.”

Cats could be put on stage thanks to a variety of brilliant moves that followed quarantine rules without spoiling the artistic intent of the musical. In particular, the “makeup mask,” which was devised to help actors and actresses prowl around the audience without the fear of spreading COVID-19, drew a lot of attention. “It is a bit shame that the audience cannot see my facial expressions with the mask on but I keep smiling under the mask. It is amazing how difficulties arising from a pandemic can be turned into an art,” said Little.