The Broadway revival of CATS. Photo by Matthew Murphy

There's a New CATS Film in the Works, And You'll Never Guess Who's Choreographing

A Jellicle Ball is coming to the big screen, with the unlikeliest of dancemakers on tap to choreograph.

We'll give you some hints: His choreography can aptly be described as "animalistic," though Jellicle cats have never come to mind specifically when watching his hyper-physical work. He's worked on movies before—even one about Beasts. And though contemporary ballet is his genre of choice, his choreography is certainly theatrical enough to lend itself to a musical.


That's right, Royal Ballet resident choreographer Wayne McGregor is working on the new film version of CATS, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that you probably either obsessively love or deeply hate. (It's a classic, guys. Don't get me started.)

McGregor announced an audition call yesterday through this mysterious Instagram post:

Some of you are probably asking yourselves, "Do we really need another film version of CATS?" The answer is yes, yes we do. For starters, the 1998 film was a taping of the long-running West End production, so there are far more cinematic possibilities to explore in the Junk Yard. Plus, the recent Broadway revival choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler introduced a new generation to the magic of Rum Tum Tugger's rotating hips and Mr. Mistoffelees' never-ending turns, and showed that Gillian Lynne's iconic choreography could be updated in inventive ways.

What will McGregor do with CATS' trippy plot and thrice-named characters? We have no clue, but we're dying to find out.

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Charlene Gehm MacDougal as Lead Nursemaid in Petrushka. Photo by Herbert Migdoll, courtesy the MacDougal family.

In Memoriam: Joffrey Dancer Charlene Gehm MacDougal, 69

Former lead dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, Charlene Gehm MacDougal died of ovarian cancer on January 10 at her home in New York City, age 69.

Gehm illuminated the inner life of each of the varied characters in her extensive repertoire. Whether she was the gracious hostess in George Balanchine's Cotillon, the riveting Lady Capulet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, or in the tumult of William Forsythe's Love Songs, she drew the viewer's eye and heart to the essence of the role.

As Forsythe puts it: "Charlene was certainly one of the most elegant dancers I have had the privilege to work with. Her striking countenance flowed into her work and, joined with her wicked sense of humor and intelligence, created thoughtful, mesmerizing and memorable art."

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February 2021