An Evening with Debbie Allen – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the next Hot thing! It will be coming to London’s West End later this year, but this theatre-lover will have a hard time waiting.

There was a Meet & Greet at the beautiful Novello Theatre tonight (17th June 2009) where those in the trade had the privilege to hear some videotaped words from the four main characters – James Earl Jones (Big Daddy), Phylicia Rashad (Big Mama), Adrian Lester (son Brick) and Sanaa Lathan (Maggie, Brick’s frustrated wife) – displaying their enthusiasm to bringing this Tennessee Williams’ play to London. We were also honored to meet Director Debbie Allen and Producers Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones… in town for Auditions for just a few days.

Let me tell you… Debbie Allen is just as I imagined her. You know when you grow up with someone (via tv), when you see their pictures, read about them… you get a perception of how that person should be. I was not disappointed! I imagined her to have so much passion and enthusiasm for the Arts and to be a kind soul. I have to say… I was in awe of her… to be standing in the room with ‘the’ Debbie Allen… and to even talk to her and be able to give her a hug. She was outgoing and lovely. She spoke to anyone who wished to speak to her. She displayed such vigor, excitement and enthusiasm about this project and life in general, it seemed. Jet lag wouldn’t even keep her from making the most of her few days here as she walked in London last night and awoke at 6:30 AM this morning although it was her intention to sleep until 8 AM! Her smile was big and beautiful just like her personality.

Of course, thinking of the different ways she has touched so many lives not only with the most popular thing that comes to mind – Fame – but the different shows she has directed, the different talents she has choreographed for, her Dance Academy, the different committees she is involved in… her passion exudes from every aspect of her life, it seems. Yet, she is an everyday person… just like you and me. She’s a wife, a busy mother of two who works. She gives of herself.

I got a chance to have a chat with Debbie and she talked about her two children (daughter 25 and son 21)… she talked about her love for creativity (which is evident)… how she is so excited to be back in London. She really is so personable… it was like chatting with a friend. Her beauty exudes from the inside out… still as gorgeous as ever.

I cannot say enough about Debbie, about the producers, about the current cast members and the cast members to join (by the way, they are quite impressed with the talent here in the UK just from the first day of auditions).

I had a chance to chat with Producer Alia Jones (another lovely person). She said that Debbie talks to each actor… spends time with them all, that she thinks of the company as a family and brings them all together as a family… every member no matter what their position is (on the stage or behind the scenes). She also said this is evident on the stage as you see the actors interact with one another… making it even more believable and enjoyable.

Expect good things this December! Mark your calendars! It is playing for an exclusive period from 1st December 2009 to 10th April 2010 (with previews starting 21st November). You won’t want to miss this vibrant, moving, passionate production! See you there!

2 thoughts on “An Evening with Debbie Allen – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”

  1. My friends and I had the pleasure of seeing this play,it was intense, funny and enoyable, I also had the pleasure of going back stage to meet the stars of the play which will be an experience I never will forget. Anyone reading this comment go and see this play you will not regret it!!

  2. I had the privilege of seeing the play at Novello Theater in London this weekend and it was awesome! We had the pleasure of meeting one of the Director’s in the corridor which stopped and spoke with us. Debbie Allen my daughter ran into in the bathroom and she was as friendly as ever. The play was funny, dramatic and touched on the dysfunctions that can rest in any family. James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad’s performace was OUTSTANDING.

    We were able to receive autographs from Phylicia, and James Earl Jones. Phylicia is pretty and posed as ever with a sincere and pure disposition and her smile will light up ANY room. James Earl Jones was just as humble as they come along with Phylicia and my daughter even rec’d a big hug from Phylicia (being a fan of hers sincde the Cosby Show). Sanaa Lathan, on the other hand was just as rude and arrogant and it appeared that the fans were bothersome to her, which I’m sure in the entertainment business that can happen, but when SEASONED actors and actresses such as those in the play can show grattitude for the support of their fans that’s when Sanaa Lathan should definitely take “acting lessons.” In my opinion the Director’s should have left Anika Rose as the part of Cat.

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