Arts and Entertainment
|‘Cats’ actor Tion Gaston right at home again in Charlotte|
|He's Mistoffelees in Tony-Award winning musical|
|Published Saturday, August 10, 2019 9:24 pm|
|Tion Gaston, a Hickory Ridge High School alumnus, returns home as Mistoffelees in "Cats" at Belk Theater Aug. 13-18.|
Tion Gaston never intended to pursue musical theater.
Yet the Hickory Ridge High School alumnus returns to Charlotte as Mistoffelees in the Tony-Award winning musical “Cats,” which runs at Belk Theater Aug. 13-18.
Gaston grew up as a competitive dancer who trained at Miss Donna’s School of Dancing. Everyone assumed his goal was Broadway, but that hardly the case.
“Everybody would see me on stage and go, ‘Oh, you want to be on Broadway, don’t you?’ and my reaction was, ‘no,’” Gaston said. “It was always no.”
Gaston preferred to let his body tell the story rather than his face or voice, which he carried to Point Park University, where he majors in dance. He will drive his brand new grey Kia Optima all over the East Coast to complete his initial one-year contract with “Cats,” with his final show on Sept. 8.
It was not until Gaston began school in Pittsburgh that his dance direction took a turn.
“I started learning about company dance and different dance style techniques,” he said. “That really turned my brain around.”
Gaston performed with Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera last summer in “Brigadoon,” “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in the ensemble.
“Through ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ I met Andrew Wilson,” Gaston said. “The first or second week in August, I was going to New York to hang out with my friend and shop. He started talking about it in the dressing room, and he said, ‘Hey guys, is anybody doing this ‘Cats’ audition?’”
While Gaston performed a “Cats” ballet as a kid as well as a dance project as a college freshman, he was not familiar with the work.
“I didn’t know anything about ‘Cats,’” he said. “I had just gotten into the musical theater world that summer. It was a new world for me. At that point, I had decided this musical theater thing isn’t for me, and Andrew goes, ‘Tion, they’re looking for a Mistoffelees,’ and I was like, ‘What?’”
Wilson showed Gaston more about the character, who has magical powers. After Wilson exchanged emails with the casting director, Gaston remained incredulous.
“I was like, ‘OK, whatever, I don’t believe this,’” he said. “He comes back the next day, and says, ‘Tion, you have to book a ticket tonight. You have to be in New York on Monday so you can try out.’ I was like, ‘What? What? What?’”
Wilson helped Gaston prepare for his first audition, and he landed the role before his 20th birthday. He turns 21 in December.
“I would not have thought my career would have gotten to this point so early,” Gaston said. “It’s basically the start of my career. I thought I was going to go to school, do my four years—probably do some intensives.”
Gaston feels that he has taken the character by the reigns and made the role his own.
“I’m truly blessed to be able to do this at such a young age,” Gaston said. “I get to go back to school and figure out where I want my life to go.”
On the Net:
|What a great article!! Congratulations in landing this role. Meow ur way to the top Tion!!?|
|Posted on August 14, 2019|
|Tion is such a beautiful dancer and a wonderful person. He has a bright future ahead of him.|
|Posted on August 13, 2019|
|I had tge privilage of meeting and seeing Tion dance. He was in same dance school with my granddaughters. So happy for him truly.Go get them Tion!|
|Posted on August 13, 2019|
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