Victoria the White Cat

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Victoria, from a promotional event in Germany in 2011

Victoria (also known as the White Cat) is a principal character in the 1981 musical Cats, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on T. S. Eliot's 1939 Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Primarily a dance role with no solo singing parts, playing Victoria demands extensive ballet training and a high degree of flexibility.[1] The character is featured in a ballet solo ("White Cat Solo") as well as a pas de deux in the musical, and leads most of the ensemble dance routines.

The role was originated by Finola Hughes in the West End in 1981, and by Cynthia Onrubia on Broadway in 1982.

In the 2019 movie adaptation, the role is played by Francesca Hayward. Unlike her stage counterpart, this version is made the de facto protagonist of the film and has more of a singing role. She performs the film's sole new song "Beautiful Ghosts", as well as taking over Jemima's part in "Memory".

Character description[edit]

Within the Jellicle tribe, Victoria is a naive and shy white kitten who is known for her beauty and poise. She is a very quiet cat and has no solo singing parts; however, she is frequently spotlighted as a dancer and opens with a ballet solo near the beginning of the musical.[2] Dance Magazine described her "iconic" solo as "filled with endless développés punctuated by twitches and swerves, ending in a Pilates-teaser–like seat."[3] According to Cats choreographer Gillian Lynne, the "White Cat Solo" represents the character's coming of age.[4]

After her solo, Victoria's dancing continues to feature heavily throughout the show; she leads most of the group numbers[5] and takes part in a ceremonial mating dance (pas de deux) with Plato.[2] At the end of the musical, Victoria becomes the second cat — after Jemima — to fully accept the outcast Grizabella, which leads to Grizabella's re-acceptance by the Jellicles and ascension to the Heavyside Layer.

Appearance[edit]

Victoria is known for her distinct white coat, which stands out among the multi-coloured markings of the other cats. Her white coat is meant to symbolise the character's innocence.[6] Although her costume is designed to give the impression of a pure-white cat, due to the limitations of stage lighting (a pure white costume would wash out all costume details under stage lighting), she has light gold, tan, or grey markings on her costume. Her distinct appearance also makes her a frequent subject for advertising for the musical.[citation needed] She also wears a pink bejeweled collar around her neck in the stage musical.

Notable casting[edit]

The role of Victoria was originated by Finola Hughes in the original West End production in 1981,[7] and by Cynthia Onrubia in the original Broadway production in 1982.[8] The character was played by Georgina Pazcoguin in the 2016 Broadway revival.[9] On screen, Phyllida Crowley Smith portrayed Victoria in the 1998 filmed version of the musical,[10] and Francesca Hayward portrayed the character in the 2019 film adaption.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cats". Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Victoria". Cats the musical (official website). Archived from the original on 19 March 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  3. ^ Kay, Lauren Phoenix (30 November 2016). "What's a Jellicle Cat? Backstage at the Broadway Revival". Dance Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  4. ^ Hamad, Marwa (12 January 2017). "Meet Cats choreographer Gillian Lynne". Gulf News. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  5. ^ Titus, Tom (10 April 2019). "On Theater: 'Cats' prowls wonderfully on Costa Mesa stage". Daily Pilot. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  6. ^ Kourlas, Gia (1 August 2016). "Georgina Pazcoguin on Her First Broadway Opening Night, in 'Cats'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Original London Cast List". Really Useful Group. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Original Broadway Cast List". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Inside the Playbill: Cats – Opening Night at the Neil Simon Theatre: Cast". Playbill. Archived from the original on 24 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Preview and Cast of Cats". PBS. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Miaow! Royal Ballet star Francesca Hayward joins Cats movie". BBC News. 2 November 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2019.