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Lakeland resident Quentin Darrington is returning to Broadway. He was selected for the role of Old Deuteronomy in a revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Cats” opening in July, Playbill reports.
“It’s a great honor and a blessing,” Darrington said. “It’s not me alone but I feel the support of the community and it lets me know that I’m not by myself. My teachers, students, friends: When I go to Broadway, we all go to Broadway.”
[box]This article has been updated from its original version with comments from Darrington.[/box]
Since January 2015, Darrington has been artist in residence at All Saints Academy. He grew up in Lakeland and attended local schools: Rochelle Elementary, Lake Gibson Junior High and Harrison Arts Center.
Previously on Broadway, he starred in “Ragtime” as Coalhouse Walker Jr from Nov 15, 2009 to Jan 10, 2010, according to The Broadway League. Other recent credits include an off-Broadway concert production of “The Secret Garden” earlier this year, a City Center production of “A New Brain” last year and a 2011 national tour of “Memphis: A New Musical” in 2011, according to Broadwayworld.com.
The “Cats” revival opens for previews July 14 at the Neil Simon Theater and the official opening is scheduled for July 31.
Rehearsals start May 30 in New York and last six weeks, Darrington said. He’s expecting to rehearse 10 hours a day for six or seven days a week.
Once the play begins, Darrington plans to come back to regularly since his family is staying here. The cast has a day off on Mondays, so he’ll fly home sometimes after Sunday matinees and return on Tuesdays in time for the evening performance.
This is Darrington’s first time performing in “Cats.” Before landing the role, he saw a production in Chicago about three years ago but didn’t have strong ties to the show. “It’s kind of a blessing to be able to bring an authentic approach,” he said.
The role of Old Deuteronomy is typically played by strong baritones and features three numbers, including the closing song, “The Ad-dressing of cats.”
“We are over the moon about this at All Saints,” spokeswoman Frances McMichael said. “Quentin grew up in Lakeland. He still lives in Lakeland and is raising his kids in Lakeland. His folks live in Lakeland, too.”
Darrington said the All Saints administration is coming up with “creative solutions” to let him maintain his affiliation with the school while he’s away. “It’s bittersweet, but it’s a great opportunity.”
The original Broadway production of “Cats” opened in 1982 and closed 18 years later after 7,485 performances, making it Broadway’s fourth-longest-running show.
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