Massimo Romeo Piparo from Messina brings the musical “Cats” to the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele


By John

The musical “Cats” signed by Massimo Romeo Piparo will land in Messina from November 9th to 12th. An irresistible colony of humanized cats singing and dancing on the ruins of the Eternal City in a magical atmosphere marked by fantasy, drama, romance and great music: after the great success at the Teatro Sistina in Rome with record numbers and repeated sold outs, “CATS”, the great production of PeepArrow Entertainment in collaboration with the Teatro Sistina – on exclusive license The Really Useful Group, London – signed by the most active and creative director, producer and adapter of Italian musicals, Massimo Romeo Piparo from Messina, will leave for a long winter tour that will visit various Italian cities. The musical par excellence, the title that changed the history of this genre of entertainment, with music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Nobel Prize winner Thomas Stearns Eliot, will see Chiara Canzian on stage, protagonist in the role of Grizabella, the glamorous cat who sings the timeless “Memory”, a cast of over 30 artists, the live Orchestra directed by Maestro Emanuele Friello and the choreographies of Billy Mitchell, choreographer of London’s West End, current associate choreographer of the latest productions of AL Webber, from School of Rock to Cinderella.

For the first time in the world, Massimo Romeo Piparo’s “Cats” has obtained authorization from the author to be set in Rome, in a hypothetical and futuristic “landfill” of works of art and archaeological finds, with the Colosseum in the background. Even in the Italian version of the show – which on Broadway set the world record for consecutive performances until 2006, still remaining today among the top four most performed musicals in history – spectacular scenography and breathtaking choreography: on stage the audience will see people move like real the artists are feline, all subjected to special and very long make-up sessions (in collaboration with M·A·C Cosmetics) for a surprisingly realistic metamorphosis in a triumph of meows, black noses, moustaches, long tails and plush paws.

“It is an opportunity – comments Piparo – to once again reiterate to the whole world the cultural and artistic centrality of the Italian capital, its history and the charm it can give to purely Anglo-Saxon stories such as this one about the Jellicle cats narrated by TSEliot. The show – continues the Director – has been adapted, remaining as always faithful to the musical score and the spirit desired by its creators, and has complete adherence to the taste of the Italian public. The cat characters all have a style and character that is very in line with our habit of interacting with this animal-life companion.”

On one special night of the year, all the Jellicle cats meet at the Jellicle Ball where Old Deuteronomy (Fabrizio Corucci), their wise and benevolent leader, chooses and announces which of them will be able to be reborn to a new life as Jellicle. But the feline party is disturbed by two events: the kidnapping of Old Deuteronomy and the appearance of Grizabella (Chiara Canzian), the charming glamor cat who, after leaving the Jellicles to explore the world, suffers exclusion and rejection of the pack and launches his desperate and melancholy appeal with the poignant “Memory”.

There are still many unforgettable characters that populate the Musical, among others the old Gus (Fabrizio Angelini), once famous for his acting career and the flashy Rum Tum Tugger (Giorgio Adamo), who always wants to be at the center of the Attention. And again, the brilliant Munkustrap (Sergio Giacomelli), who puts his courage at the disposal of all the members of the tribe, Mr. Mistoffelees (Pierpaolo Scida), the cat ‘in a tuxedo’ capable of performing astonishing magic, Bustopher Jones (Jacopo Pelliccia ) and the inseparable couple Mungojerrie (Simone Ragozzino) and Rumpleteazer (Rossella Lubrino).

The musical direction of the live Orchestra, as well as the programming of the original sounds of “Cats”, are entrusted to maestro Emanuele Friello, director of all the great successes signed by Piparo, who includes militancy within the of the original “Cats” Orchestra in London’s West End. The scenes – with an evocative Roman archaeological setting – are by Teresa Caruso, also a stable presence in the Piparo team for over ten years, as is the costume designer Cecilia Betona who was entrusted with the delicate task of supervising the entire look of the realistic transformation , from human to feline, of the cast.

“Cats” by Andrew Lloyd Webber is one of the most famous musicals in the world: broke all records for longevity, spectators and box office receipts. It has been seen by over 73 million people and has captivated audiences in over 300 cities around the world. The plot of the Musical is based on the book by Thomas Stearns Eliot entitled “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, a collection of whimsical and funny poems in which cats are the protagonists. In this work the author focuses on feline behavior and psychology, creating a truly loving homage to cats of all types, from young to old, from the happier ones to the wild and aggressive ones. The poems were written in 1930 and signed by Eliot with the pseudonym “Old Possum”: perfect for an audience of young and old readers, they were then published in 1939, with the cover illustrated by Eliot himself.

Produced by veteran Cameron Mackintosh and Sir ALWebber’s company, The Really Useful Group, “Cats”, after a year of great success in London’s West End, debuted on Broadway in 1982. The song “Memory” is a true classic, above all for the recordings by Elaine Paige and Barbra Streisand: to the notes of a poignant melody, the cat Grizabella reflects on her loneliness, thinking back to her lost youth and the happiness of days gone by, but also affirms her desire and hope to start a new life . The song has been recorded by 150 different artists including Celine Dion, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, José Carreras, Milva, Ute Lemper, Susan Boyle and in the recent 2019 film by Jennifer Hudson.