MANILA, Philippines - Acclaimed Pinay thespian Joanna Ampil is back on stage as the glamour cat Grizabella in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, “Cats.”
A theater veteran, Joanna has played Fantine and Eponine in “Les Miserables,” Kim in “Miss Saigon,” Maria in “The West Side Story,” and Mimi in “Rent.”
In November 2012, she won Best Actress for a Musical at the 25th Aliw Awards for her portrayal of Maria in Resorts World Manila's production of “The Sound of Music.”
Her role as Grizabella takes her to the United Kingdom. She will be there until September, during which the show will tour 10 cities including Edinburgh, Manchester, Aberdeen, Southampton, and Wolverhampton.
The musical will also open its curtains to two cities outside the UK: Dublin in Ireland and Oostende in Belgium.
Here is a video of Joanna Ampil singing "On My Own":
On being the 'glamour cat'
Joanna bagged the role of Grizabella after performing the song “Memory” — a well-loved song from “Cats” — at the auditions. "Memory" has been recorded by over 150 artists including Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand, and Celine Dion.
The singer-actress could not help but cry while singing the song. “Maybe that was how I won the part,” she said in a recent interview.
But returning to the U.K. as Grizabella was not in Joanna’s plans. After being away from the Philippines for so many years, she was looking forward to settling in her home country and recording an OPM album with Viva Records.
Upon reflection, Joanna realized that she wanted to re-establish herself in West End and the role was a golden opportunity to do so.
The pressure is on for the seasoned actress. The role of Grizabella has won awards for some of the actresses who have played it, including Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley. - With reports by Pia Ranada/Rappler.com