Glam Chats: Behind The Scenes Make-Up With Lydiya Kaplun Of CATS The Musical

CATS the Musical is in town and we went behind the scenes to chat with Lydiya Kaplun, make-up and wig designer, about this incredible performance…

CATS the Musical is in town and we sent the newest Glam team member behind the scenes because, well, she was the perfect fit for the job! Sophie Armstrong is the creative behind the blog The Moon and The Mirror and an advocate of theatrical fashion and lifestyle in Adelaide. See, we told you she was perfect for the job

She got the opportunity to go behind the scenes to see the cast from CATS transform themselves into character. In chats with Lydiya Kaplun, make-up and wig designer, secrets were revealed about the revival of CATS the Musical and how the make-up and hair is designed for such an incredible performance.


Sophie: How did you design the make-up and wigs in consideration of such a physically intensive show?

Lydiya: Considering the longevity and the wear of the make-up needed, we use grease paints by Kryolan. It is stage make-up from Germany. They sweat quite a lot so it is important it lasts! This makeup is also not too harsh on the skin.

Sohpie: Some actors have multiple characters, how do they morph so quickly?

Lydiya: Josh Piterman who plays three characters: Growl Tiger, Bustopher Jones and Gus, has three make-up looks. He has to be really quick in changing through the show and only has 5-7 minutes – if he’s lucky – to go from one character to the next. When he goes back into his basic Cat, he only has about 3 minutes to change.

In general, the cast keep the same make-up that they have applied at the beginning of the show. Throughout they will touch up. We have stations set up so each character can go and see if anything has rubbed off while they have been rubbing their faces like cats do.


Sophie: Did you create the Wigs?

Lydiya: We had them made by a wig maker in Sydney: Kylie Clarke. Kylie hand knotted each one with Yak hair and it was dyed to the colours required, different gradients for each Cat. For the little white kitten Victoria, the Yak hair used was from under the belly because it is extra fluffy.

Sophie: Can you tell us why there are different ear styles?

Lydiya: Depending on the age of the cats, those with the pointy ears are said to be more youthful. The older cats have ears in the traditional style which are less defined. For cats like Growl Tiger and Old Deuteronomy, the ears are really saggy to show their old age. The different ear styles have been altered to reflect the new direction of the characters in this leg of the tour.


Sophie: What is your most memorable CATS moment?

Lydiya: I just loving seeing them all out on stage towards the end of the first half – it just gives me goosebumps. I think how amazing they are to be able to keep up that level of energy every show. I feel blessed to be able to watch them side-stage every night.

Sophie: What is like to be part of such an enormous team?

Lydiya: We are very much a family, on stage and off stage. It is a journey that we are going to share for the rest of our lives. I feel really lucky to be a part of it and I really try to enjoy every show, embracing and appreciating every minute. Everyone is so committed to what they do, there is so much hard work that goes into it.

CATS the Musical is on now at The Adelaide Festival Centre.


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