Today on our blog, we welcome Cats ensemblist Tug Watson to Broadway. Learn about his journey to the Great White Way:
What's your name and hometown? Tug Watson from Fredericksburg, VA.
What is your role/track in your Broadway debut? I am currently a Swing for the vocal tracks and covering Old Deuteronomy and Gus in Cats.
How did you find out you had booked the part? So I was up for Cats when TRC was casting for the revival... I was also accepted into grad school in the MFA program at San Diego State University. I had done a ton of tours, never performed on Broadway, and was looking at all of my options for the future. Grad school and teaching were something I was really excited about, so after getting passed on for Cats, I accepted my position at SDSU. Last Christmas, Kristen Blodgette, the Music Supervisor, reached out and asked if I were free to do a few weeks singing the tenor line in the booth. The singers in the booth at Cats are cast members comprised of traditional swings, and understudies. They were down a tenor, so I readily accepted. I happened to be on the East coast and the contract did not conflict with second semester. So there I was... on Winter break working on Broadway after leaving NY behind for what I had thought would be at least 5 years. This current contract was offered to me early this past summer. Only now instead of being contracted as "Cats Chorus" I am a swing and covering OD and Gus! Such a thrill. I am here through October, back to school in November, and back to Cats in December... So, Broadway/writing a thesis :)
What’s been the most surprising thing about preparing to perform the show? Like many, Cats is the show that made me want to perform. I have loved it since childhood when we lived in England. I saw the original production in its final weeks, and subsequently toured as Munkustrap 2008-2010. So, it's a huge part of me. The most surprising thing about preparing for this isn't necessarily preparing for the show itself, but just the preparation for the "moment." What I mean by that, is that we all have different paths on how we achieve our goals. I'm 33... which isn't old, but I have been around the biz a while now. I am a terrible waiter, so the idea of survival jobs was becoming a non-option for me. I am, however, really passionate about education. So I took the next step; teaching. To my greatest surprise, leaving NY has only opened doors for me in ways I never thought possible. I got my undergrad in 2006 from Syracuse, and have been working my ass off since. I never lost faith, but I did begin to evaluate what I measured success and happiness to be. Thats been the biggest surprise, my perspective changing for the best.
What are you looking forward to most about your experience on Broadway? I am most looking forward to seeing whats next. I would of course love a career on Broadway, but I also want to be your professor that simply loves helping you achieve your goals. I get a rush of excitement whenever I turn the corner on 52nd street and see the marquee... so the show queen in me absolutely exists. But I am just mainly happy for the moment. I'm very lucky and I just love what we do... so much.
Listen to our podcast episode on Broadway Debuts here.