Lancashire

Cats in Blackpool: Jane McDonald replaces Nicole Scherzinger

Jane McDonald with some of the cast Image copyright DAVE NELSON
Image caption Jane McDonald replaces former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger in the lead role

Jane McDonald will replace former Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger when Cats returns to Blackpool in July.

The singer and presenter will take over the lead role of Grizabella for the six-week run of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical at Blackpool Opera House.

Ex-Loose Women host McDonald, 52, said the Cats role and being back at the theatre where she regularly used to sing was "a marriage made in heaven".

Blackpool was the first venue outside London to host the musical in 1989.

When she discovered the show was returning to Blackpool, McDonald said she pleaded for the role.

Image copyright Alessandro Pinna
Image caption Nicole Scherzinger playing Grizabella in Cats at the London Palladium

She said the theatre was her "good luck charm" and "one of the best venues in the whole of Europe".

The singer, who rose to fame on 90s BBC TV series The Cruise, told BBC Radio Lancashire: "When I first started all those years ago this was the venue I was singing in when I went to number one with my [1998 debut] album."

Cats first opened in 1981 and was inspired by TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

The original cast included Elaine Paige, Wayne Sleep, Bonnie Langford, Brian Blessed, Paul Nicholas and Sarah Brightman.

It ran for 21 years in London's West End and 18 years on Broadway in New York.

The musical returned to London last year after a 12-year break.

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