The Jellicle moon will shine bright over Warrnambool as the Jellicle cats come out for a highly anticipated south-west production of the longest running Broadway and West End musical of all time.
A cast of 47 performers from across the region will bring Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS to Warrnambool's Lighthouse Theatre this year in September.
The joint Holiday Actors and Warrnambool Theatre Company production was originally slated for 2020, but was postponed due to COVID restrictions.
Maja Pearson, who will sing the famous song 'Memory' in the role of Grizabella, said that she is itching to get back on stage.
"Being involved in the community, and having a creative outlet is such an important thing for me. I am so honoured to be working with such a supportive and talented group of people" Ms Pearson said.
It's a family affair for 17-year-old John Bell Scholarship recipient Taine De Manser, who will perform the role of Rum Tum Tugger under the watchful eye of directors and parents Anne and Geoff De Manser.
"I had theatre all around me but this will be one of my bigger performances to date. It will definitely be a challenge coming out of COVID, but the cast and the atmosphere around the show is making me super excited to get back on the Lighthouse stage," Mr De Manser said.
The cast spans across six decades in age, with performers aged 10 up to 60.
This will be Hugh Blemings' first musical ever as he takes on the role of Gus.
"I've played in bands and that sort of stuff before but it's my first time in musical and it's just been wonderful," he said.
"I think both companies have worked together to try and create a really inclusive and friendly environment."
CATS is the second joint Holiday Actors and Warrnambool Theatre Company production, following the sell-out season of Les Misérables in 2019.
For creatives like Megan Fish, the pandemic had a huge impact.
"It left a huge hole in many peoples' lives," she said.
"Having that creative outlet is of huge importance to so many people, especially a lot of the younger kids.
"After Les Mis we had such an awesome experience we were all just champing at the bit to get straight back into another one, and then to have it just all disappear and have nothing it was really hard.
"I think have a creative outlet is such an important part for our self care, and our emotional wellbeing, and that definitely had an impact last year when so many things that we were involved with outside of work that was positive for us wasn't able to happen.
"That this is happening we're so grateful; to be involved in something so amazing, and meeting such wonderful, creative people."
Young cast member Zoe Borthwick, who will play the mischievous Mungojerrie, found it challenging to balance remote learning and her creative passions through 2020.
"It was emotional roller coaster; you just get back to sort of finding that little glimmer of hope and you'd be back in lockdown again," she said.
"It was pretty tough but it's amazing to be back rehearsing."
Emmalee Bell assured new audiences the musical was much better than the recent film adaptation.
"Nothing beats a live performance and you just can't translate that onto the screen," she said.
"The music is really intricate and complex and takes you on an emotional rollercoaster.
"I think everyone can connect with it.
"It will have a unique reimagining of the south-west it's not a replication of the Broadway production."
IN OTHER NEWS
- 'If there's crowds or no crowds, it's still going to be an Olympic Games'
- Vaccination supply an issue in city with no walk-in appointments available
- Writing as catharsis: South-west church abuse survivor tells his story
- Potential impact of quarry on Aboriginal heritage to be investigated
- Ice addict burglar breaks into home, showers, steals food
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.