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Leona Lewis, British Pop Star, to Make Her Broadway Debut in 'Cats' Revival

By Philip Trapp on May 30, 2016 07:40 AM EDT

Leona Lewis, English singer-songwriter and winner of 2006's The X Factor program, will make her Broadway debut this summer as character Grizabella in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's famously enduring musical, Cats.

Nicole Scherzinger, former singer of the Pussycat Dolls, was initially cast in the part. She reportedly dropped out just before the start of rehearsals to serve as a judge on The X Factor, leaving the role open for Lewis. Scherzinger had previously portrayed "Glamor Cat" Grizabella in a 2014 West End engagement of Cats.

Lewis, announced in the role on Thursday in a statement issued by the production, has fond childhood memories of Cats and is excited to be a part of the revival

"I will never forget seeing the show as a little girl and how blown away I was by the magical experience of it. I am beyond thrilled for my Broadway debut to be in such an iconic show. To work with a team as legendary as those on Cats is an experience I will cherish every moment of. I cannot wait to see the audiences out in NYC!"

Legendary composer Weber was apparently none too pleased with Scherzinger's hasty exit from the show. He verbally lit into the singer in a recent radio interview: 

"I'm furious because I really believe she's the most fantastically talented girl and I went out on a limb to get her for the London Palladium here, and it makes me look like an absolute twat with them all," Webber told Economist Radio. "But never mind, there'll be another girl on Broadway and Nicole will not get her Tony Award."

The original Broadway production of Cats was one of the longest-running shows in the history of the Great White Way, in production from 1982 until 2000. As of 2015, its historic run stands surpassed only by The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, and The Lion King. It also the fourth longest-running show in West End history.

The Cats revival begins previews on July 14, opening July 21 at Neil Simon Theatre.

Below, listen to Lewis' 2008 hit single, "Better in Time."

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TagsLeona Lewis, Cats, Nicole Scherzinger