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article imageReview: Leona Lewis lackluster in revival of 'Cats' on Broadway Special

By Markos Papadatos     Aug 8, 2016 in Entertainment
British pop star Leona Lewis stars as Grizabella in the Broadway revival of "Cats," which took place at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York.
While Lewis has a fine voice, there were many issues with her acting performance, especially in terms of herbelievability factor. She was afforded the opportunity to sing "Memory," one of the greatest songs in the history of Broadway, and she failed to do it justice. Her delivery of "Memory" lacked charisma, conviction, power and it fell short in many areas, especially from an emotional standpoint.
Her background as a pop vocalist (best known for her chart-topper "Bleeding Love") may have worked in her disadvantage, since she did not fully immerse herself in the character at all times successfully. The performance should not be solely about belting out the notes (which she has no problem hitting the high notes) and the glitz and glamour (covered in the make-up and costumes), it should be about telling a story through the music (composed by the brilliant Andrew Lloyd Webber), and forming a strong connection with the audience.
Acclaimed actresses Betty Buckley and Elaine Page were far more superior in the role of Grizabella, over the course of time, and they were able to convey a wide range of emotions in their spell-binding and award-winning renditions of "Memory" that will stand the test of time. Their versions give one goosebumps. Lewis ought to take some cues from these ladies, and their classic versions of "Memory" may be seen below.
The Verdict
Overall, Leona Lewis gave a lackluster performance of "Memory" in this Broadway revival of Cats. The production, as a whole had potential, but it never got there. This revival of Cats failed to make a lasting "memory." It garnered a C- rating.
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