Georgina Pazcoguin, a New York City Ballet dancer, stars in the new Broadway revival of Cats as Victoria — the ballerina cat.

Georgina Pazcoguin On ‘Cats’

The character of Victoria was a natural fit for Pazcoguin, who has been with the New York City Ballet company since 2003. “She is featured in a lot of the dancing parts and she, as a character, represents purity, and youth, and her whole life is ahead of her,” Pazcoguin said of Victoria in an exclusive interview with uInterview. “Everything is new to Victoria, and Victoria also is very integral to the plot as she’s the first cat to truly accept Grizabella and actually touch her at the end,” Pazcoguin added, referring to the musical’s central protagonist.

Cats originally premiered in London’s West End in 1981 before it made its way to Broadway the following year, running from 1982 until 2000. For the Cats revival that launched at the Neil Simon Theatre earlier this summer, Pazcoguin explained that the approach was to keep the essence of the original production, but to subtly freshen it up.

“The creative team did not wanna bring back Cats as a brand new production. So, I believe it was Andrew Lloyd Webber who approached Andy Blankenbuehler to breathe some fresh life into the choreography and into certain aspects of the musical,” Pazcouguin revealed. “It was an ever-changing equation to find the balance between old and new. So, as someone who’s seen Cats before, you’re gonna see the Cats that you know and love, but you’re going to see — Andy’s an amazing choreographer, and the additions that he’s made are maybe gonna draw your eye to something brand new you’ve never seen before, or maybe put a different emphasis on a movement that was already there but makes the storytelling clearer.”

While the new choreography is undoubtedly a treat for audiences to take in, for Pazcoguin, some of it proved to be quite difficult to master – even for her, a professional dancer. But, more difficult than mastering the challenging steps was the singing.

“We’re all shown to our best abilities, but every single one of us was asked to do something that we’re not comfortable doing,” Pazcoguin said of the singers, dancers actors in the new Cats production. “So, I find myself singing and I sing the chorus with the other singers, but that’s not necessarily what I consider a forte of mine. I’m singing in a two-hour plus show, and dancing a million different styles. The ballet I can obviously grasp, but the ever-changing of styles throughout the evening does take a certain toll on the body and it requires a certain energy.”

Cats is currently playing at the Neil Simon Theatre.


Q: What is your role in the musical? -

Victoria is known as the ballerina cat. She is featured in a lot of the dancing parts and she, as a character, represents purity, and youth, and her whole life is ahead of her. And that feeds into Grizabella in that when Grizabella comes into all these scenes and sees what her life was before she was rejected by this tribe, she focuses in on Victoria because she remembers when she was that purity. She used to be that; that emulates what she used to be. Without asking for the attention, Victoria seems to be the center of attention and she’s also exploring her body. Everything is new to Victoria, and Victoria also is very integral to the plot as she’s the first cat to truly accept Grizabella and actually touch her at the end. So, she’s a very wonderful, wonderful character.

Q: What makes this production different from previous shows? -

Well, this was a very interesting endeavor, they were trying to do. They wanted to bring back Cats, and Cats has such a legacy, and Cats has such a following — so the creative team did not wanna bring back Cats as a brand new production. So, I believe it was Andrew Lloyd Webber who approached Andy Blankenbuehler to breathe some fresh life into the choreography and into certain aspects of the musical. So, it was an ever-changing equation to find the balance between old and new. So, as someone who’s seen Cats before, you’re gonna see the Cats that you know and love, but you’re going to see — Andy’s an amazing choreographer, and the additions that he’s made are maybe gonna draw your eye to something brand new you’ve never seen before, or maybe put a different emphasis on a movement that was already there but makes the storytelling clearer. It was a really great and fun process to be a part of.

Q: What are the challenges of playing Victoria? -

The challenges for me is... There are many challenges for me in this endeavor of becoming Victoria the cat in Cats. It’s eight shows a week — there you have it — also the dancing in the show is some of the hardest dancing I’ve ever done in my life and Mr. Blankenbuehler picked an amazing cast of dancers and singers and actors. And we’re all shown to our best abilities, but every single one of us was asked to do something that we’re not comfortable doing. So, I find myself singing and I sing the chorus with the other singers, but that’s not necessarily what I consider a forte of mine. I’m singing in a two-hour plus show, and dancing a million different styles. The ballet I can obviously grasp, but the ever-changing of styles throughout the evening does take a certain toll on the body and it requires a certain energy. Then, the final thing that’s made it sort of an interesting adjustment is the fact that we have a raked stage, which means the stage is at an angle and is not actually a flat surface to dance on.

I’ve danced on a rake before — on tour for New York City Ballet a lot of the European theaters had raked stages, and the stage was raked because the audience was flat. Nowadays, when theaters are built the audience is raked, so therefore the stage can be flat. I believe it improves the sight lines of the cats. I mean, the cats are on the ground. In the production, we’re crawling all over, we’re all over the set, which is another interesting thing, to have such an interactive set to work with every night. It’s kind of like an adult human jungle gym. So, I believe that’s why the rake is there. It’s still present in this modern day production, even though in the Neil Simon the audience is raked as well. But, it will point out every single weakness you have in your body, so generally my lower abdominal core is not the strongest. I mean, you look at me and you think I’m strong but there’s certain weaknesses. And I see them coming out like trifold, so I’ve really had to up my training and my rehabilitation to kind of make sure that injuries don’t pop up or become worse because of this change of surface