Saigon Inocian Replaces Willetts in Cats, 15 OctDate: 27 September 2001
Cast changes in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, the longest running musical ever to play the West End, have been announced. Junix Inocian (pictured) will replace Dave Willetts as Old Deuteronomy with Ben Tyrell taking over from Jacob Brent as Mr Mistoffelees. Both changes are effective from 15 October 2001, with a number of other new company members also joining on the same date.
Inocian trained at the Silliman University in the Philippines and also at Syracuse in New York. He joined Repertory Philippines in 1978 and appeared in over 60 productions for them. Inocian later became a star on TV in the Philippines, before being chosen to appear in the original cast of Miss Saigon, and from 1992-94 he played the lead part of The Engineer. He has also previously performed as Old Deuteronomy in Cats. Musicals star Dave Willetts discussed his role in Cats with Whatsonstage.com earlier this year in the 20 Questions slot.
The current Cats list will continue to star Chrissie Hammond as Grizabella and John Partridge as Rum Tum Tugger. The show celebrated its 20th birthday at the New London Theatre on 11 May 2001, and a display of memorabilia from the various other productions around the world has now been mounted in the venue's foyer.
The show originally opened at the New London on 11 May 1981, with a cast including Elaine Paige, Brian Blessed, Paul Nicholas, Wayne Sleep, Sarah Brightman and Bonnie Langford. In London alone, it has grossed over £152 million at upwards of 8,500 performances and has been seen by 8 million people.
Cats is based on the Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats poems by TS Eliot, one of the 20th century's foremost poets. Although Eliot died back in 1965, he was awarded a Tony Award posthumously for his contribution. The Broadway version finally ended in September 2000 after almost 18 years on the go.
- by Gareth Thompson