Get our free email newsletter with just one click

‘I’d like to murder’: Gillian Lynne gets claws out over Cats snub

Gillian Lynne. Photo: Greg Heisler Gillian Lynne. Photo: Greg Heisler
by -

Gillian Lynne has slammed the US production of Cats for replacing her choreography, claiming the musical will bear no resemblance to the original creative team’s vision.

Lynne was speaking for the first time since it was announced that Andy Blankenbuehler will choreograph the revival production, based on Lynne’s work.

She told The Stage the decision to bring in the Hamilton choreographer had made her “very angry” and added: “It makes me feel like I’d like to murder. I have had a rotten time because of it. I did create the show, I really did.”

Lynne blamed the move on the US producers, who she said had told her that a revival needed “amazing changes”.

“And we all went: ‘We have just had this amazing success in London – at the London Palladium, twice.’ But he said that was how it was there, and we all turned off then, really,” she said.

Lynne said she had visited the cast on Broadway, and expressed concern that none of them had been taught how to move like cats.

“I did feel it would not be particularly cat-like,” she said.

She praised Blankenbuehler as brilliant, but added that his work on Hamilton was mainly hip hop, which she said was not what Cats is about.

“Everyone’s point of view is that it will be a brilliant little show, but it will not be Cats,” she said.

Lynne, who also choreographed The Phantom of the Opera, also revealed to The Stage that she had reworked the dancing in the song Masquerade from that musical, which will be introduced into the West End production and forthcoming Paris show.

“I saw Phantom and thought: ‘Why did I do something as dull as that? I can do better.’ So when I was in New York I changed it, and I am going to change it in London,” she said.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.