Here's a List of Everything We Know About the CATS Movie
If the news about the upcoming CATS movie has your head spinning, we're right there with you. It seems like every week we have a bit more to share about the new film adaptation, which is set to release in December 2019. So, in order to keep it all straight, we present you with our master list of everything we know—our version of "The Naming of Cats," if you will. We'll add updates as they emerge.
Andy Blankenbuehler stepped in to choreograph for the movie after Wayne McGregor left the project. Photo by Jeremy Daniels, Courtesy Blankenbuehler
Though Wayne McGregor was initially tapped to choreograph and held auditions this summer to fill dancer roles, it was announced in late November that he needed to step away from the film due to scheduling conflicts with The Royal Ballet. Broadway maestro Andy Blankenbuehler was called in to save the day—the obvious choice, given that he choreographed the 2016 Broadway revival.
The cast is overflowing with Hollywood A-listers.
Idris Elba is set to play Macavity. Image via Wikimedia Commons
We learned in July that Jennifer Hudson, Sir Ian McKellan, Taylor Swift and James Corden would all be stepping into catsuits. The cast list has since expanded to include Idris Elba, Dame Judi Dench, Jason Derulo and Rebel Wilson—and we're sure there's more to come.
Royal Ballet dancers join the cast
Francesca Hayward, here in Manon, is reportedly playing Victoria. Photo by Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH
The Royal Ballet announced in early November that both Francesca Hayward and Steven McRae would be taking leaves of absence to appear in the CATS film. They're reportedly playing Victoria and Skimbleshanks, respectively. The company later confirmed a rumor that soloist Olivia Grace Cowley will also be appearing in the film.
Robert Fairchild to play Munkustrap
Robert Fairchild is the most recent top-notch dancer to join the cast. Photo by Jayme Thornton
Speaking of "The Naming of Cats," Variety is reporting that former New York City Ballet principal dancer and Tony nominee Robert Fairchild has been cast as Munkustrap. Given his Broadway bona fides, excellent dancing chops and inimitable charm, we aren't at all surprised—who better to lead us through the opening number that introduces us to the world of CATS?
Les Twins and Eric Underwood join cast as filming gets underway
According to Deadline, former Royal Ballet soloist Eric Underwood and "World of Dance" alums Les Twins (Larry and Laurent Bourgeois) are among the starry dance talent working on the film, which just began principal photography. The site also confirmed Francesca Hayward's casting as Victoria.
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In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.
And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.
"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."
The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.