'Cats' Musical Wiki

Liz Callaway is a Tony award nominated American theatre actress and singer with a long involvement playing Grizabella in the Broadway Production of Cats.

Callaway has provided the singing voice for many female characters in animated films, with her most famous role being Anya in Anastasia (1997).

She has appeared in numerous Broadway shows and has worked extensively with Stephen Sondheim, appearing in Merrily We Roll Along and the Lincoln Centre concert of Follies. She received a Tony award nomination for her role as Lizzie in the musical Baby.

Cats Credits[]

Broadway - 11/1992 - 12/1992 - Grizabella

Broadway - 05/1993 - 04/1997 - Grizabella

Broadway - 09/1997 - 06/1998 - Grizabella

Broadway - 10/1998 - 02/1999 - Grizabella

Interview (2016)[]

Diva Talk: 8 Grizabellas, Including Betty Buckley and Elaine Paige, Share Their "Memory"s - Playbill.com, Sept 2016.

Liz Callaway first played the role for three months in 1992 when Laurie Beechman was married and then played the part on and off from 1993-1998 in the original Broadway production.

How long did it take you to get into full Grizabella makeup each night?
LC: At the beginning it took about an hour. Then one Sunday afternoon I got stuck in traffic and arrived at the theatre 20 minutes before curtain. I discovered I could do my makeup in ten minutes! It actually looked better when I wasn’t being so painstakingly precise!

What is the pressure/challenge like of having to deliver “Memory,” the vocally demanding song everyone waits for all evening?
LC: I don’t think I felt pressure, per se, but felt it was a privilege that I got to sing this incredible song each night. That said, if I had a cold or was sick, I did stress out a bit about nailing “Touch Me…” to the end of the song. Fortunately, I never had any big vocal mishaps!

Was there any one performance of “Memory” that stands out in your mind as your best ever?
LC: I try not to judge my performances, so I couldn’t say… But I can tell you one of my favorite experiences singing “Memory” was when I did an outdoor symphony concert of the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber in Estonia for 40,000 people. Was a real thrill.

What was the most memorable onstage Cats mishap—either your own or by a fellow cast member?
LC: Hmmmm. Here’s one that comes to mind. I had a lot of offstage time in Cats, and I love to cook, so I decided I would use some of that time to prep some vegetables for a dinner party I was having. I brought a chopping board, knife and ingredients to the theatre, and during Act II, I diced a mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery. When it came time to sing “Memory,” I washed my hands, put on my Griz gloves and made my entrance. What I didn’t realize at the time was how you can’t get the smell of onions off your hands with soap and water, so I totally reeked of onions. I was mortified. My fellow felines didn’t miss a beat, and sniffed me with great disdain. For that one performance I was Grizabella the Salad Cat. I learned my lesson, and from then on I only prepped mushrooms and other non-odorous vegetables!

Why do you think the musical has endured?
LC: Cats is timeless theatre. Let’s start with the music: It’s a great score. The show has incredible dancing and great storytelling. It appeals to all ages, and is even language proof. And, finally, everyone likes to root for the underdog, even when she’s a cat.

What version of “Memory”—other than your own—do you admire?
LC: That’s hard because I admire so many: Betty, Laurie, Barbra Streisand…. If I had to pick one, it might be Elaine Paige’s, because the first time I heard the song, it was her rendition on the cast album. You always remember your first...