She won The X Factor back in 2006 (10 years what?!) and has gone on to have a successful career post-show, but now Leona Lewis has swapped Hackney for the Great White Way with a starring role in Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Broadway revival of Cats – and we’ve got the first look and listen of her singing the show’s most famous number, Memory.
The current production of the show transferred to Broadway this year after premiering back in 2014 in the West End. In that version, the role of Grizabella, the former ‘glamour cat’, was played by another X Factor face, Nicole Scherzinger. She was nominated for an Olivier award for the part, which saw her finely fill the shoes of iconic Grizabellas like Betty Buckley, Elaine Paige and, of course, Jane McDonald. After she decided not to take the role in New York, Ms Lewis was called upon to step in.
Cats is the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice” and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. It is based on the T.S Eliot book Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats. It first premiered as a musical in 1981 and yes it’s as bizarre as it sounds.
Scherzinger shade aside (Lloyd-Webber famously blasted her for opting out of the show in favour of The X Factor judging duties) Leona is sounding the best she has sounded in years. After a rough couple of years career-wise, it’s nice to see the Bleeding Love star back in her stride and flying the British flag on Broadway. Even as a mangy old cat.
Watch the video below:
Photo: Matthew Murphy