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Q & A: UA alumna to purr-form in ‘Cats’ at Centennial Hall

Courtesy Ahren Victory

CATS performer and UA alum.

Victory is performing in the national tour of “Cats,” the Broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which follows the story of a group of junkyard cats. The showing will be in Centennial Hall from April 30 to May 5. The Daily Wildcat spoke with Victory about the upcoming show. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Daily Wildcat: In “Cats” you play the cat Sillabub. Can you tell me a little bit about that character?

Ahren Victory: I do — Sillababy, as I like to call her. She is one of the youngest kittens. She is what Grizabella [a much older and neglected cat] used to be in her youth. She is curious, yearns for adventure and sees all the world has to offer and has a big heart. She is one of the first to accept Grizabella and sings to Griz during “Memory” to renew her sense of fight after she’s fallen.

DW: What has been your favorite part of touring the country with the show?

AV: One of my favorite things, besides the show itself, is seeing the impact the show has on audiences in every city. Interacting with the fans/patrons and hearing them share how the show has been a part of their lives, or if it’s their first time seeing it and how it has touched them “beyond belief,” is really rewarding and impactful.

DW: How long have you been touring with “Cats,” and how long does the tour last?

AV: I’ve been on the tour since it started this past January. The tour is actually open-ended. More and more cities are being added to the tour route.

DW: Do you have a favorite musical number you get to perform in “Cats”?

AV: This is such a tough question! I love my track, singing with Grizabella during “Memory,” and if I absolutely had to choose, I think the “Jellicle Ball” is my favorite dance piece.

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DW: What do you hope audiences will get out of coming to see the musical?

AV: I hope audiences are able to see themselves in some of the characters. My wish is for audiences to be taken into the Junkyard and be touched in some way. I think everyone can relate to feeling out of place and yearning to be accepted or loved.

DW: How does it feel to come perform at the UA after graduating from here two years ago?

AV: It’s a bit surreal and very exciting. It’s a full-circle moment for me in a few ways.

DW: When you were at the UA, did you perform in any of the Arizona Repertory Theatre shows?

AV: I did! I performed in “Othello” and “Cabaret.”

DW: How did studying at the UA help prepare you for your career as a performer?

AV: Truth be told, the bulk of my prep came from finishing my UA degree while living in New York. I had the opportunity to attend Joffrey Ballet School’s Jazz Trainee program, and I was able to network, audition and perform in the city all while finishing up my degree with UA.

DW: Do you have any big upcoming plans after “Cats?”

AV: Returning to New York! I love the city; it’s home. I’m looking forward to working and performing in Manhattan again.

DW: If you could play any role in a musical next, what would it be?

AV: Oh, this is a tough one. Nina in “In the Heights” but “West Side Story” as well, though I’m torn between Anita and Maria.

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