Wayne McGregor Has Stepped Away from the CATS Movie
The Broadway revival of CATS. Photo by Matthew Murphy, Courtesy DKC/O&M
It looks like Wayne McGregor won't be dancing at the Jellicle Ball after all.
According to Deadline, the British choreographer has stepped away from the upcoming film adaptation of CATS after scheduling conflicts with The Royal Ballet arose. Though principal dancers Francesca Hayward and Steven McRae are taking brief hiatuses from performing with The Royal to allow for their filming obligations, we're guessing that the full-length McGregor is working on for the company (the first part of which is slated to premiere July 2019 in Los Angeles) needed to take priority.
And who is stepping in to replace him? None other than Tony Award–winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler.
Andy Blankenbuehler. Photo by Jeremy Daniel
The Broadway veteran is an exceptionally safe bet for this project: He choreographed the Broadway revival of CATS in 2016, which means he's already intimately familiar with the musical's characters and aesthetic—a must when stepping into a production that's already filming. Will we see Blankenbuehler further update the late Gillian Lynne's choreography as he did (somewhat controversially) for the revival?
On the one hand, we're disappointed that we won't get to see McGregor's vision for Victoria, Mr. Mistoffelees or Rum Tum Tugger. On the other, we're beyond excited that audiences who didn't make it to the Broadway revival will get to see what Blankenbuehler brought to the table. And as psyched as we were to see Hayward and McRae showcase their expertise in McGregor's idiosyncratic movement style, we're more than a little enchanted by the thought of seeing what they do under Blankenbuehler's direction.
Devon Teuscher performing the titular role in Jane Eyre. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT
Story ballets that debut during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House are always the subject of much curiosity—and, sometimes, much debate. Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre was no different. The ballet follows the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Brönte's novel as she grows from a willful orphan to a self-possessed governess, charting her romance with the haughty Mr. Rochester and the social forces that threaten to tear them apart.
While the ballet was warmly received in the UK when Northern Ballet premiered it in 2016, its reception from New York City–based critics has been far less welcoming. A group of editors from Dance Magazine and two of our sister publications, Dance Spirit and Pointe, sat down to discuss our own reactions.