Alonzo is an ensemble character in the musical Cats. Behind his confident and brave facade is an uncertain tom, though he rises to the occasion when Macavity attacks. The role usually has a few dance features in the show, such as portraying the Rumpus Cat and fighting Macavity.
|“||Vain, Uncertain, Bravado||”|
Alonzo is one of the adult toms, of the same generation as Munkustrap and Rum Tum Tugger. He puts on a confident and somewhat self-centered front, but is loyal and takes his instruction from the protector of the tribe, Munkustrap. Onstage, he is usually depicted as having a suave and flirty demeanour, often engaging in intimate interactions with the queens.
Alonzo tries to emulate Munkustrap but hesitates initially when Macavity attacks the tribe, leaving Munkustrap to take on Macavity alone. He eventually finds his courage and joins the fight. In early Broadway-based productions, Munkustrap is knocked out of the fight early on and Alonzo takes the majority of the fight with Macavity. In this version of the show, it is strongly implied that he and Demeter are a couple. In London-based productions, Alonzo is often seen to be very close to Cassandra.
|“||5'10"-6'0", excellent ballet technique, good partner. Strong presence, attractive. Emulates Munkustrap but struggles to find his own strength and courage in the face of adversity.||”|
Alonzo shows great deference to Munkustrap and is often interpreted to be the latter's "second-in-command". Whenever there is a threat, he is present to support Munkustrap in defending the tribe. Alonzo sometimes plays a significant role in the fight with Macavity, rescuing Demeter from his clutches. In the original Broadway production, he takes the majority of the Macavity fight after Munkustrap is knocked out early and is then paired with Demeter afterwards. Most 1980s and 1990s productions are based on the Broadway version. In these earlier productions, Alonzo often remained onstage during the first half of "Macavity the Mystery Cat" as well, shadowing Demeter and Bombalurina as they sing, mimicking their dance and movements.
In the original London production, Alonzo played the Rumpus Cat during "The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles", but was replaced by Admetus and then George early in the run. When the role of George was retired towards the end of the run, Rumpus Cat was once again played by Alonzo, as is the norm in most replica productions. Unusually, in the Broadway production, Plato took the Rumpus Cat role; however, early US tours gave the role to Alonzo.
Late in the London production, Alonzo took over dancing the pas de deux (known to fans as the "mating dance") in the Jellicle Ball with Victoria, a role previously danced in London by Admetus, and given to various characters (but rarely Alonzo) worldwide.
The following names have also been used for the character of Alonzo in various international productions:
Alonzo is usually one of the easiest characters to pick out in London-based productions, because of his very strong block black and white coloring. He is a patched tom with a striking big black splotch on the left of his face, curled corner of his right eye, and a teardrop-shaped splotch that sweeps down from his nose to the right corner of his mouth.
In Broadway and subsequent productions that copied that style, he is usually depicted as being black and gold/tan, a fluffier, scruffier look than the neat and elegant black and white version.
John Napier's original designs show an interesting story of the development of Alonzo's design, with the labels on the designs crossed out and changed as the project was re-worked.
- The original black and white London design is immediately familiar as the Alonzo we know from the film. This design was originally labelled "Quaxo". However, since Quaxo was combined with Mistoffelees in London and used the "Mistoffelees basic" design, "Quaxo" was crossed out and replaced with "Kitten?" and then "Alonzo". This design was not fully realised for the 1981 Original London Cast, as Alonzo doubled as Rumpus Cat, his ensemble costume appears to have been essentially Rumpus Cat without the "R" on his chest.
- The exact original design was re-worked with additional tan/gold colouring added to the black and white, and is familiar as the Broadway-style black and gold Alonzo costume.
- The third design relating to Alonzo was labelled "Alonzo" originally, but this was changed to just "Basic". This design has served many ensemble cats in different productions - it seems to be the base for some early European Alonzo designs, on Broadway the design was used for Plato ("Basic" referring to it being Macavity's ensemble costume) and in London this design was used for Victor.
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