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Cats is a sung-through musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as the "Jellicle choice" and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

Cats
CatsMusicalLogo.jpg
MusicAndrew Lloyd Webber
BasisOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats
by T. S. Eliot
Premiere11 May 1981; 37 years ago (1981-05-11): New London Theatre, London, England, U.K.
Productions
Awards

Directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, Cats first opened in the West End in 1981 and then with the same creative team on Broadway in 1982. It won numerous awards, including Best Musical at both the Laurence Olivier Awards and the Tony Awards. By 1994, the musical had grossed over $2 billion worldwide.[1] The London production ran for 21 years and the Broadway production ran for 18 years, both setting new records. Actresses Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley became particularly associated with the musical. The most well-known song from Cats, "Memory", has been recorded by more than 150 recording artists.[2]

Cats was the longest-running Broadway show in history from 1997 until 2006 when it was surpassed by The Phantom of the Opera. As of 2018, it is the fourth-longest-running Broadway show and the sixth-longest-running West End show. Cats has been performed around the world many times and has been translated into 15 languages. The Japanese production by the Shiki Theatre Company has performed over 10,000 shows since it first opened in 1983. The musical was adapted into a direct-to-video film in 1998, with a 2019 film adaptation by Tom Hooper set to follow.

Contents

Background and overviewEdit

Cats is based on T. S. Eliot's 1939 poetry book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which composer Andrew Lloyd Webber recalled as having been a childhood favorite. The songs of the musical comprise Eliot's verse set to music by Lloyd Webber, the principal exception being the most famous song from the musical, "Memory", for which the lyrics were written by Trevor Nunn based on an Eliot poem entitled "Rhapsody on a Windy Night". Additionally, a brief song entitled "The Moments of Happiness" was taken from a passage in Eliot's Four Quartets. Lloyd Webber began composing the songs in late 1977 and premiered the compositions at the Sydmonton Festival in 1980. The concert was attended by T .S. Eliot's widow, Valerie Eliot, who then gave her permission for the songs to be adapted into a musical stage play.[3] Rehearsals for the musical began in early 1981 at the New London Theatre. Due to the Eliot estate asserting that they write no script and only use the original poems as the text, the musical had no identified plot during the rehearsal process, causing many actors to be confused about what they were actually doing.

 
Part of the oversized junkyard set in the original London production (1999)

Cats is an unusual musical in terms of its construction; along with Eliot's poems, music and dance are the key elements of the show, at the expense of a traditional narrative structure.[4] The plot centres on a tribe of cats called the Jellicles, on the night of the Jellicle Ball where they decide which one of them will ascend to the Heaviside Layer (used here as a metaphor for heaven).[5][6] The bulk of the musical comprises the different contenders being introduced, either by themselves or by other cats.[7][8] The show is completely told through music with no dialogue in between the songs,[9] although there are occasions when the music accompanies spoken verse. Lloyd Webber's compositions are eclectic; musical styles range from operetta and hymn,[10] to pop, rock, jazz and music hall.[5][9] Many of the songs are pastiches of their respective genres, such as the spy film soundtrack-esque "Macavity: The Mystery Cat".[5] Cats is a dance-heavy musical and includes a 10-minute dance sequence during the "Jellicle Ball".[11] Choreographed by Gillian Lynne, the dance styles are varied and incorporate ballet, music hall, folk, jazz and tap, interspersed with acrobatic displays.[5][4] Lynne based her choreography on the movement of actual cats, and each character moves in a distinctive feline manner that is tailored to their individual personality.[5][12] The set, designed by John Napier, consists of a junkyard filled with over 2,000 oversized props to give the illusion of being seen from a cat's perspective.[13] The set remains the same throughout the show without any scene changes.

SynopsisEdit

Act I — When Cats Are Maddened by the Midnight DanceEdit

 
The Jellicle cats gather every year to make the "Jellicle Choice", and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

After the overture, the cats gather on stage and explain the Jellicle tribe and its purpose ("Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats"). The cats (who break the fourth wall throughout the show) then notice that they are being watched by a human audience, and proceed to explain how the different cats of the tribe are named ("The Naming of Cats"). This is followed by a ballet dance performed by Victoria the White Cat to signal the beginning of the Jellicle Ball ("The Invitation to the Jellicle Ball"). At this moment, Munkustrap, the show's main narrator, explains that tonight the Jellicle patriarch Old Deuteronomy will make an appearance and choose one of the cats to be reborn into a new life on the Heaviside Layer.

The first contender Munkustrap introduces is Jennyanydots ("The Old Gumbie Cat"), a large tabby cat who lazes around all day, but come nighttime, she becomes active, teaching mice and cockroaches various activities to curb their naturally destructive habits. Just as Jennyanydots finishes her song, the music changes suddenly, hence Munkustrap's annoying younger brother, Rum Tum Tugger, makes his extravagant entrance in front of the tribe ("The Rum Tum Tugger"). He is very fickle and unappeasable, "for he will do as he do do, and there's no doing anything about it".

Then, as Rum Tum Tugger's song fades, a shabby old grey cat stumbles out wanting to be reconciled; it is Grizabella. All the cats back away from her in fear and disgust and explain her unfortunate state ("Grizabella: The Glamour Cat"). Grizabella leaves and the music changes to a cheerful upbeat number as Bustopher Jones, a fat cat in "a coat of fastidious black", is brought to the stage ("Bustopher Jones: The Cat About Town"). Bustopher Jones is among the elite of the cats, and visits prestigious gentlemen's clubs. Suddenly, a loud crash startles the tribe and the cats run offstage in fright. Hushed giggling sounds signal the entrance of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, a pair of near-identical cats. They are petty burglars, very mischievous, and they enjoy causing trouble around their human neighbourhood ("Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer"). After they finish, they are caught off-guard and confronted by the rest of the cats.

Finally, the Jellicle patriarch, Old Deuteronomy, arrives before the tribe ("Old Deuteronomy"). He is a large old cat that "has lived many lives" and "buried nine wives (And more, I am tempted to say—ninety-nine)". He is the cat who chooses which Jellicle will go to the Heaviside Layer every year. The Jellicles put on a play for Old Deuteronomy ("The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles"), telling a story about two dog tribes clashing in the street and subsequently being scared away by the Great Rumpus Cat. After a moral from Old Deuteronomy about the destiny of Jellicle cats and Pollicle dogs, a second loud crash, presumably from Macavity, sends the alarmed cats scurrying. After a quick patrol for Macavity, Old Deuteronomy deems it a false alarm and summons the cats back as the main celebration begins ("The Jellicle Ball"), in which the cats sing and display their "Terpsichorean powers".

During the Ball, Grizabella reappears and tries to dance along, but her age and decrepit condition prevent her from doing so ("Memory (Prelude)"). Once again, she is shunned by the other cats while Old Deuteronomy looks on sadly.

Act II — Why Will the Summer Day Delay — When Will Time Flow Away?Edit

 
After addressing the gathering by singing "Memory", Grizabella is chosen to be reborn into a new Jellicle life.

After the Jellicle Ball, Old Deuteronomy contemplates "what happiness is", referring to Grizabella. However, the cats do not understand him, so he has Jemima (or Sillabub, depending on the production), the youngest of all Jellicles, sing it in simpler terms ("The Moments of Happiness"). Gus — short for Asparagus — shuffles forward as the next cat to be introduced ("Gus: The Theatre Cat"). He was once a famous actor but is now old and "suffers from palsy which makes his paws shake." He is accompanied by Jellylorum, his caretaker, who tells of his exploits. Gus then remembers how he once played the infamous pirate captain, Growltiger a.k.a. the Terror of the Thames ("Growltiger's Last Stand"). Gus tells the story about the pirate captain's romance with Lady Griddlebone, and how Growltiger was overtaken by the Siamese and forced to walk the plank to his death.

Back in the present, after Gus exits, Skimbleshanks is seen sleeping in the corner ("Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat"). He is the cat who is unofficially in charge of the night train to Glasgow. Skimbleshanks is considered vital to the rail operations, as without him "the train can't start". Within his song, a whole steam train engine is assembled out of objects in the junkyard.

With a third crash and an evil laugh, the "most wanted" cat Macavity appears. He is the so-called "Napoleon of Crime" who always manages to evade the authorities. Macavity's henchmen capture Old Deuteronomy and take off with the patriarch in tow. As Munkustrap and his troops give chase, Demeter and Bombalurina explain what they know about Macavity ("Macavity: The Mystery Cat"). When they are finished, Macavity returns disguised as Old Deuteronomy, but his cover is blown by Demeter and he ends up in a fight with Munkustrap and Alonzo. Macavity holds his own for a time, but as the rest of the tribe begin to gang up and surround him, he shorts out the stage lights and escapes in the resulting confusion.

After the fight, Rum Tum Tugger suggests that the cats should find a local magician named Mr. Mistoffelees for help ("Magical Mr. Mistoffelees"). Known as the "original conjuring cat", Mr. Mistoffelees can perform feats of magic that no other cat can do. He displays his magical powers in a dance solo and uses them to restore the lights and bring back Old Deuteronomy. Now, the Jellicle Choice can be made.

Before Old Deuteronomy can announce his decision, Grizabella returns to the junkyard and he allows her to address the gathering. Her faded appearance and lonely disposition have little effect on her song ("Memory"). With acceptance and encouragement from Jemima and Victoria, her appeal succeeds and she is chosen to be the one to go to the Heaviside Layer and be reborn to a new Jellicle life ("Journey to the Heaviside Layer"). A large tyre rises from the piles of junk, carrying Grizabella and Old Deuteronomy partway toward the sky; he then steps off so she can finish the journey on her own. Finally, Old Deuteronomy gives his closing speech to the audience ("The Ad-dressing of Cats") and the show comes to a close.

MusicEdit

Musical numbersEdit

‡Song has been dropped from the US and UK productions of the show since 2016.[14] In the 2016 Broadway revival, the number was replaced by "The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles".[15]

OrchestrationEdit

Based on the definitive 16-piece licensed version.[16]

RecordingsEdit

List of cast recordings, with selected chart positions, sales figures and certifications
Cast Album details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications
UK US
Original London cast 86[18]
Original Broadway cast 131[22]
Original Viennese cast
  • Released: 1984
  • Label: PolyGram[23]
  • Formats: CD
  • Austria: Platinum[23]
Original Australian cast
  • Released: 1985[24]
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
Original Japanese cast
Original German cast
  • Released: 6 October 1986[27]
  • Label: Polygram
  • Formats: CD
  • Live recording
Japanese cast
  • Released: 8 February 1989[25][28]
  • Label: Pony Canyon
  • Formats: CD
Original Polish cast
Japanese cast

CharactersEdit

Featured charactersEdit

 
From left to right: Old Deuteronomy, Jemima, Grizabella and Victoria in the German tent tour of Cats, 2011.

Characters who are featured singers or dancers:

  • Asparagus a.k.a. Gus: The Theatre Cat – An elderly cat whose paws tremble from old age; he spends his time reminiscing about his past exploits when he used to be a famous theatre actor.[31]
  • Bombalurina – A flirty and confident red queen; she is best friends with Demeter and the two share an intense hatred for Macavity.[32]
  • Bustopher Jones – A fat upper-class cat who is respected by all.[33] He is described as "the Brummell of cats" due to his immaculate pelt, which resembles a tuxedo and spats. In most productions, the actor playing Gus also plays Bustopher, though in early productions the part was handled by the actor playing Old Deuteronomy.
  • Demeter – A troubled and skittish queen; she is best friends with Bombalurina and the two share an intense hatred for Macavity.[32]
  • Griddlebone – Growltiger's lover in "Growltiger's Last Stand", in which she sings "The Ballad of Billy M'Caw" or the mock Italian aria "In Una Tepida Notte" (depending on production). Usually played by the actor playing Jellylorum.
  • Grizabella – A former "glamour cat", ostracised by the Jellicles, who has lost her sparkle and now only wants to be accepted.[34]
  • Growltiger – A theatrical character Gus recalls playing in his youth, and who appears in Gus' memory during "Growltiger's Last Stand".[31] In some productions he is portrayed as a vicious pirate; in others, he is more comical. Usually played by the actor playing Gus.
  • Jellylorum – A queen who watches out for the kittens and takes care of Gus. Named after T. S. Eliot's own cat.[35]
  • Jemima/Sillabub – The youngest kitten. She is described as sweet and compassionate, and becomes the first cat to accept Grizabella when she sings alongside her in "Memory (reprise)".[36]
  • Jennyanydots a.k.a. the Old Gumbie Cat – She sits around all day and is seemingly very lazy, but at night, she becomes very active as she rules the mice and cockroaches, forcing them to undertake helpful functions and creative projects to curb their naturally destructive habits.[37]
  • Macavity – A notorious criminal known as The Napoleon of Crime.[38] The character is a literary allusion to the Sherlock Holmes character Professor Moriarty.[39]
  • Mr. Mistoffelees – A young black and white tuxedo tom learning to control his magical powers.[40] He is a featured dancer, performing twenty-four consecutive fouettés en tournant during his number.[41] Mistoffelees' chorus identity is sometimes known as Quaxo.
  • Mungojerrie – A mischievous troublemaker, he is one-half of a notorious duo of cat-burglars along with Rumpleteazer.[42]
  • Munkustrap – A grey tabby tomcat who is the storyteller and protector of the Jellicle tribe. He is Old Deuteronomy's second-in-command and the show's main narrator.[43]
  • Old Deuteronomy – The wise and beloved elderly Jellicle leader; he tries to get the tribe to accept Grizabella all through the show.[44]
  • Rumpleteazer – A mischievous troublemaker, she is one half of a notorious duo of cat-burglars along with Mungojerrie.[42]
  • Rum Tum Tugger – A flashy and unappeasable cat who loves to be the centre of attention.[45] His temperament ranges from clownish to serious.
  • Skimbleshanks a.k.a. the Railway Cat – An upbeat and active orange tabby cat, who lives on the mail trains and acts as an unofficial chaperone to such an extent he is considered rather indispensable to the train and station employees.[46]
  • Victoria the White Cat – A naive and shy white kitten who is known for her beauty and poise. She is a featured dancer, opening with a dance solo after "The Naming of the Cats" and is the first character to touch Grizabella.[47]

Other charactersEdit

 
Etcetera (front) and Alonzo in the Polish production, December 2007.

Other characters who have appeared in multiple notable productions include:

  • Admetus/Plato – The chorus identity of Macavity. Typically paired with Victoria in a pas de deux during the Jellicle Ball.
  • Alonzo – A black-and-white/black-and-gold tom. Sometimes considered the third in seniority after Munkustrap as he also fights Macavity.
  • Bill Bailey/Tumblebrutus – A brown-and-white tom kitten. He is a playful young kitten, often performing acrobatics as well as being a strong dancer. His costume is patchy browns on a white base, suggesting he is a Bi-colour tabby and white.
  • Carbucketty/Pouncival – A brown-and-white tom kitten. The name "Carbucketty" was created by T. S. Eliot for a "knockabout cat".
  • Cassandra – A brown pointed queen.
  • Coricopat and Tantomile – Twin brother and sister with psychic abilities.[48] The name "Tantomile" was created by T. S. Eliot for a "Witch's Cat".[49]
  • Electra and Etcetera – Tabby kittens who are fans of Rum Tum Tugger. Etcetera was the chorus identity of Rumpleteazer early in the Broadway production and has since evolved into a separate character.
  • Rumpus Cat – A spiky-haired cat with glowing red eyes, seen as a sort of superhero figure and the star of The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles. Usually played by Alonzo, Admetus or George.

Notable castsEdit

Role Original London Cast[50] Original Broadway Cast[51] 1998 Film Cast[52] 2014 West End Revival Cast[53] 2015 West End Revival Cast[54] 2016 Broadway Revival Cast[55] 2019 Film Cast
Admetus/Plato Steven Wayne Kenneth Ard Bryn Walters Cameron Ball Javier Cid Daniel Gaymon Eric Underwood
Alonzo Roland Alexander Héctor Jaime Mercado Jason Gardiner Adam Lake Jack Butterworth Ahmad Simmons Bluey Robinson
Asparagus/Gus the Theatre Cat Stephen Tate Stephen Hanan John Mills Paul F. Monaghan Paul F. Monaghan Christopher Gurr Ian McKellen
Bill Bailey/Tumblebrutus Peter Barry Robert Hoshour Fergus Logan Adam Salter Jon-Scott Clark Kolton Krouse
Bombalurina Geraldine Gardner Donna King Rosemarie Ford Charlene Ford Emma Lee Clark Christine Cornish Smith Taylor Swift
Bustopher Jones Brian Blessed Stephen Hanan James Barron Paul F. Monaghan Paul F. Monaghan Christopher Gurr James Corden
Carbucketty/Pouncival Luke Baxter Steven Gelfer Karl Morgan Joel Morris Luke Cinque-White Giuseppe Bausilio
Cassandra Seeta Indrani René Ceballos Rebecca Parker Cassie Clare Danielle Cato Emily Pynenburg
Coricopat Donald Waugh René Clemente Tommy Sliiden Benjamin Mundy James Titchener Corey John Snide Jaih Betote
Demeter Sharon Lee-Hill Wendy Edmead Aeva May Zizi Strallen Anna Woodside Kim Fauré Daniela Norman
Electra Anita Pashley Leah Sue Morland Lili Froehlich
Etcetera Julie Edmett Christine Langner Jo Bingham
George/Pouncival John Chester Herman W. Sebek Frank Thompson Stevie Hutchinson Jordan Shaw Sharrod Williams
Griddlebone Susan Jane Tanner Bonnie Simmons   Melissa Madden Gray
Grizabella Elaine Paige Betty Buckley Elaine Paige Nicole Scherzinger Beverley Knight Leona Lewis Jennifer Hudson
Growltiger Stephen Tate Stephen Hanan   Paul F. Monaghan Paul F. Monaghan Ray Winstone
Jellylorum Susan Jane Tanner Bonnie Simmons Susan Jane Tanner Clare Rickard Clare Rickard Sara Jean Ford Freya Rowley
Jemima/Sillabub Sarah Brightman Whitney Kershaw Veerle Casteleyn Natasha Mould Tarryn Gee Arianna Rosario Mette Towley
Jennyanydots Myra Sands Anna McNeeley Suzie McKenna Laurie Scarth Jane Quinn Eloise Kropp Rebel Wilson
Macavity John Thornton Kenneth Ard Bryn Walters Cameron Ball Javier Cid Daniel Gaymon Idris Elba
Mr. Mistoffelees Wayne Sleep[i] Timothy Scott Jacob Brent Joseph Poulton[i] Mark John Richardson[i] Ricky Ubeda Laurie Davidson
Mungojerrie John Tornton René Clemente Drew Varley Benjamin Yates Harry Francis Jess LeProtto Danny Collins
Munkustrap Jeff Shankley Harry Groener Michael Gruber Callum Train Matt Krzan Andy Huntington Jones Robert Fairchild
Old Deuteronomy Brian Blessed Ken Page Ken Page Nicholas Pound Adam Linstead Quentin Earl Darrington[ii] Judi Dench
Rum Tum Tugger Paul Nicholas Terrence Mann John Partridge Antoine Murray-Straughan Marcquelle Ward Tyler Hanes Jason Derulo
Rumpleteazer Bonnie Langford Christine Langner Jo Gibb Dawn Williams Georgie Leatherland Shonica Gooden Naoimh Morgan
Rumpus Cat Roland Alexander Kenneth Ard Frank Thompson Adam Lake Jack Butterworth Christopher Gurr
Skimbleshanks Kenn Wells Reed Jones Geoffrey Garratt Ross Finnie Evan James Jeremy Davis Steven McRae
Tantomile Femi Taylor Janet Hubert-Whitten Kaye Brown Kathryn Barnes Gabrielle Cocca Emily Tate Zizi Strallen
Victoria (White Cat) Finola Hughes Cynthia Onrubia Phyllida Crowley Smith Hannah Kenna Thomas Hannah Kenna Thomas Georgina Pazcoguin Francesca Hayward

Notes:

  1. ^ a b c Also credited as "Quaxo" (chorus cat)
  2. ^ Also credited as "Victor" (chorus cat)

One-off film charactersEdit

  • 1998 film: Femi Taylor as Exotica; Tony Timberlake as Asparagus (chorus cat)[56]
  • 2019 film: Les Twins as Socrates and Plato; Jonadette Carpio as Syllabub

Notable replacementsEdit

Notable replacements have been featured throughout the musical's West End and Broadway runs.

West EndEdit

BroadwayEdit

Production historyEdit

Cats has been translated into over 15 languages and produced professionally in more than 30 countries.[70]

LondonEdit

 
The original 1981 London cast of Cats

Cats premiered in the West End at the New London Theatre on 11 May 1981. There was trouble initially as Judi Dench, cast in the roles of Grizabella and Jennyanydots, snapped her Achilles tendon during rehearsals prior to the London opening.[71] Dench had to pull out and Elaine Paige took over the role of Grizabella. The musical was produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, directed by Trevor Nunn, with associate director and choreographer Gillian Lynne, design by John Napier, and lighting by David Hersey. The conductor was Harry Rabinowitz.[72] It played a total of 8,949 performances in London. Its final performance in London's West End was on its 21st birthday, 11 May 2002, and broadcast on a large screen in Covent Garden for fans who could not acquire a ticket for the final performance. It held the record as London's longest-running musical until 8 October 2006, when it was surpassed by Les Misérables.

The musical returned to the West End 12 years later for a limited run. A 12-week run at the London Palladium was first announced in mid-2014.[73] Beginning in December 2014, the revival starred Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella,[53] and featured the original creative team, with direction from Nunn, choreography by Lynne and design by Napier.[73] Lloyd Webber was also involved and rewrote a number of songs for the revival.[74] The run was later extended through April 2015, with Kerry Ellis replacing Scherzinger as Grizabella;[75] 100,000 tickets were released for the extended run.[61] The musical returned once again to the London Palladium for a limited run lasting from 23 October 2015 to 2 January 2016,[76] starring Beverley Knight as Grizabella.[77]

BroadwayEdit

 
Broadway revival of Cats at the Neil Simon Theatre

The show made its debut on Broadway on 7 October 1982, at the Winter Garden Theater with the original London production team. Pre-sale tickets totaled $6.2 million before the show opened, the largest in Broadway history at the time.[78] Parts of the Winter Garden were knocked down to make room for the junkyard set, while a part of the roof was torn to allow for the effects of show's finale in which Grizabella ascends to the Heaviside Layer.[13] The Broadway show cost over $5 million to produce, four times that of the original London production,[13] making it the most expensive Broadway show in history at the time.[79] On 19 June 1997, Cats became the longest-running musical in Broadway history with 6,138 performances. At the time, the show was found to have had an economic impact of $3.12 billion on New York City, and had generated the most theatrical jobs of any single entity in Broadway history.[13] It closed on 10 September 2000, after a total of 7,485 performances. One actress, Marlene Danielle, performed in the Broadway production for its entire run (from 1982 until 2000).[80] The show's Broadway-run record was surpassed on 9 January 2006 by The Phantom of the Opera, and Cats remains Broadway's fourth-longest-running show in history. Overall, the original Broadway production grossed approximately $388 million (not adjusted for inflation).[81]

A Broadway revival opened on 31 July 2016 at the Neil Simon Theatre.[82] The revival featured new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, with Nunn and Napier from the original creative team returning to direct and design respectively.[83] Scherzinger, who played Grizabella in the 2014 West End revival, had originally agreed to reprise the role on Broadway but later withdrew.[84] Leona Lewis was cast to replace her[85] and was ultimately succeeded by Mamie Parris in October 2016.[86] The Broadway revival closed on 30 December 2017 after 16 previews and 593 performances.[87]

North AmericaEdit

Following its Broadway debut, Cats has been staged extensively across North America. The musical's first US national tour launched at the Shubert Theatre in Boston in December 1983, with Laurie Beechman playing Grizabella and Charlotte d'Amboise playing Cassandra. The production left Boston in May 1984 and had residencies across eight more states before returning to Boston where it closed in November 1987.[88] A Los Angeles production at the Shubert Theatre ran from January 1985 to November 1986, starring Kim Criswell in the role of Grizabella.[89][90] Meanwhile, the first Canadian production opened in 1985 at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres and toured for around five years.[91] This was followed by a North American touring production that ran from September 1986 to September 1988,[92] and another that ran from March 1987 to December 1999 (with Bryan Batt as Munkustrap in the 1991–1992 cast, David Hibbard as Rum Tum Tugger in the 1992–1993 cast, and Lena Hall as Demeter in the 1998 cast).[68][93] In the 1990s, there were five different productions touring the United States.[94] By 1991, Cats had the longest-running continuous US tour in musical theatre history.[95] After the show's closure on Broadway in 2000, the first non-Equity national production of Cats by Troika Entertainment toured North America from 2001 to 2012 (with Julie Garnyé as Jennyanydots in the 2001 cast, and Dee Roscioli as Grizabella in the 2002 cast).[96][97][98][95] A second Canadian touring production began in 2013, 28 years after the first one launched.[91] In January 2019, a new North American tour based on the 2016 Broadway revival opened at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island,[99] and is scheduled to run through June 2020.[100]

Cats has also been staged by major regional theatres. An amphitheatre production was staged at The Muny in 2010, and featured Stephanie J. Block as Grizabella and Lara Teeter as Munkustrap.[101]

United KingdomEdit

The first UK tour opened with a six-month residency at the Opera House Theatre in Blackpool in 1989, with Marti Webb playing Grizabella. The musical returned to Blackpool in 2015 for a limited run starring Jane McDonald as Grizabella.[102] Another national tour ran in the early 1990s featuring Olympic figure skating champion Robin Cousins as Munkustrap.[103][104] Following the closure of the original West End production in 2002, a nationwide tour embarked in 2003 with Chrissie Hammond starring as Grizabella,[105][106] until Dianne Pilkington took over the role in 2006.[107] Hammond reprised the role on tour again from 2007 to 2008.[108][109] A UK/European tour of Cats launched on 9 February 2013 at the Edinburgh Playhouse with Joanna Ampil as Grizabella,[110][111] running through 2014 before transferring to the West End.[112] A subsequent UK/European tour began in 2016, this time with Anita Louise Combe as Grizabella and Marcquelle Ward as Rum Tum Tugger, running through 2019.[113][114]

On 24 March 2013, the largest production of Cats was staged by 3,500 students from Stagecoach Theatre Arts schools at the Birmingham National Indoor Arena.[115]

EuropeEdit

 
Cats at the Teatr Muzyczny Roma in Warsaw, September 2007

Shortly after its West End and Broadway debuts, the first non-English production of Cats premiered in March 1983 at the Madách Theatre in Budapest, Hungary. Since then, the Hungarian-language production has continued to be staged as part of the Madách Theatre's repertoire and, as of 2017, has been performed nearly 1,500 times.[116][117][118]

The original German-language production at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria, opened in September 1983 and played 2,040 shows before moving to the Ronacher Theatre in 1988, where it ran until 1990.[119] The original Viennese cast included Ute Lemper, who alternated between the roles of Bombalurina and Grizabella,[120] and Steve Barton who played Munkustrap.[119][121] Pia Douwes was also a member of the Viennese cast from 1987 to 1989, covering several different characters including Grizabella.[122] Cats is scheduled to return to the Ronacher Theatre in September 2019 under Vereinigte Bühnen Wien.[123] Meanwhile, the musical was first staged in Germany by Stella Entertainment in 1986 at the Operettenhaus in Hamburg, where it ran for 15 years before transferring to Stuttgart in 2001.[124][125] The production was then taken over by Stage Entertainment and had residencies in Berlin (2002–04)[126][127] and Düsseldorf (2004–05),[128] before touring until 2006.[129][130] A separate theatre company of Cats also toured Germany from December 2010 to June 2013, performing in a travelling purpose-built tent theatre.[131][132]

Cats has also had shorter engagements in other European countries. November 1985 saw the premiere of a Norwegian-language production at Det Norske Teatret in Oslo. It played a total of 197 performances and included performers such as Øivind Blunck, Brit Elisabeth Haagensli and Øystein Wiik.[133][134] In 2009, the Norwegian show returned to Oslo where it was staged at the Chat Noir.[135] Jorma Uotinen directed and choreographed a Finnish production at the Helsinki City Theatre that ran from September 1986 to December 1988, and featured Monica Aspelund as Grizabella and Heikki Kinnunen as Gus.[136] A Swedish version of the musical opened in 1987 in Chinateatern in Stockholm, before transferring to Scandinavium in Gothenburg two years later. It was revived at the Gothenburg opera house from 2006 to 2007.[137][138]

The Carré Theatre in Amsterdam, Netherlands, has staged the musical in 1987 (with Ruth Jacott as Grizabella),[139] 1988, and from 1992 to 1993.[140] A Dutch touring production also ran from 2006 to 2007,[141] with a brief stop in Antwerp.[142] This production by Stage Entertainment featured several performers in the role of Grizabella including Pia Douwes and Anita Meyer.[143][144] Stage Entertainment has also staged the musical in Madrid (2003–05),[145] Moscow (2005–06; with a cast that included Ivan Ozhogin as Munkustrap)[146][147] and Paris (2015–16).[148][149] In Moscow, the musical had been previously performed in 1988 with the Viennese cast including Pia Douwes,[150][122] while in Paris, it had also previously been performed at the Théâtre de Paris from 1989 to 1990.[151] The show was also produced in Zürich (1991–1993),[152] Antwerp (1996),[153] Copenhagen (2002–2003),[154] Warsaw (2004–2008),[155][141][156] and Prague (2005).[130] The first Italian-language production toured Italy in the 2009–2010 season.[157]

International productions of Cats have toured the European region extensively, starting with a Eurotour that launched in the mid-1990s.[119] English-language touring companies subsequently made stops across Europe; first in the mid to late 2000s, which included performances in Hungary, Greece, Portugal and Germany,[130][158][159] then in 2013–2014 with stops in Ireland, Belgium,[142] Greece, Italy, Monaco, and Portugal.[160][161][112] Most recently, an English-language production played in numerous European cities from 2016 to 2019.[162] The 2016 stop in Slovakia featured Katarína Hasprová in the role of Grizabella.[163]

AsiaEdit

 
A production of Cats at the Esplanade in Singapore, 2009

Cats has toured Asia on several occasions. The show performed in Asia from 1993 to 1994, playing in Singapore (with local actress Jacintha Abisheganaden as Grizabella),[164] Hong Kong and South Korea.[165] The show came to Asia again in 2002–2004 when it visited Malaysia,[166] South Korea,[167] Shanghai,[168] Taipei and Beijing;[169][170][171] the 2004 cast included Slindile Nodangala in the role of Grizabella.[170]

A touring company visited Asia between 2007 and 2010, including stops in Taiwan,[141] Macau, and Thailand in 2007;[172] South Korea from 2007 to 2009;[173] China in 2008;[174] Singapore and Hong Kong in 2009 (with Delia Hannah playing Grizabella);[175][176][177] and Manila in 2010 (with Lea Salonga as Grizabella).[178] A Chinese-language production toured various cities in China in 2012.[179] Cats toured Asia again from 2014 to 2015, making stops in South Korea, Singapore and Macau.[180] An international tour ran once more from 2017 to 2019, with visits to South Korea,[181] China (with Joanna Ampil as Grizabella),[182][183] Hong Kong[184] and Taiwan,[185] and planned stops in the Philippines and Singapore.[183]

From September 2008 to January 2009, a Korean production performed at the Charlotte Theatre in Seoul, with Shin Youngsook and Ock Joo-hyun alternating as Grizabella, Kim Jin-woo and Daesung alternating as Rum Tum Tugger, and Kim Bo-kyung as Rumpleteazer.[186][187] This production was revived from 2011 to 2012, with Insooni and Park Hae-mi taking turns to portray Grizabella.[188]

JapanEdit

 
The CATS Theatre in Shinagawa, Tokyo in 2008

The production of Cats by the Shiki Theatre Company has been playing in Japan since 1983. The show premiered in a tent theatre in November 1983 in Shinjuku, Tokyo.[189][190] As of 2019, the show is performed at the purpose-built CATS Theatre in Tokyo.[189][191] The production performed its 10,000th show on 12 March 2019.[191][192]

OceaniaEdit

The first Australian production ran from 1985 to 1987 at the Theatre Royal in Sydney (with Debra Byrne as Grizabella, Marina Prior as Jellylorum, Jeff Phillips as Rum Tum Tugger, and Anita Louise Combe as Sillabub),[193][194] with subsequent residencies at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne in 1987,[195] and at the Adelaide Festival Centre in 1989.[196] This was followed by a national tour from 1993 to 1996,[197] during which Delia Hannah made her debut as Grizabella in 1994.[198] A professional circus adaptation of Cats, titled Cats Run Away to the Circus, had a national tent tour from 1999 to 2001, with Hannah once again starring as Grizabella.[199][200] Hannah reprised her role for another production that toured Australia and Asia in 2009 and 2010.[175] In July 2014, Australia's Harvest Rain Theatre Company staged the biggest production of Cats in the Southern Hemisphere with over 700 performers. Produced by Tim O'Connor, the production was performed at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Callum Mansfield directed and choreographed it, and its record-breaking cast included Marina Prior as Grizabella and Steven Tandy as Bustopher Jones and Gus.[201][202]

From October 2015 to May 2016, a revival toured Australia with stops in Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth.[203][204] The revival featured singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem as Grizabella,[205] before Delia Hannah took over the role during the Adelaide and Perth seasons.[198][206]

The musical played in Auckland from 1989 to 1990,[207] and a New Zealand production was launched in 2015.[208]

OthersEdit

Spanish-language productions of Cats have been staged in Central and South America. The musical premiered in Mexico in 1991–1992, where the production performed over 400 shows and starred María del Sol as Grizabella, Manuel Landeta as Munkustrap, Susana Zabaleta as Jellylorum, Maru Dueñas as Sillabub and Ariel López Padilla as Macavity.[209][210][211][212] The show was revived in 2013 with Filippa Giordano, Lila Deneken and Myriam Montemayor Cruz alternating as Grizabella,[213] and again in 2018–2019 with Yuri as Grizabella and Manuel Landeta as Old Deuteronomy.[211][212] Cats was also produced in Argentina in 1993 (with Olivia Bucio as Grizabella),[150] in Chile in 2006 (at the Arena Santiago)[214] and 2014,[215] in Colombia in 2009,[216] and in Brazil in 2010 (with Paula Lima as Grizabella).[217] Other countries that the musical has been performed in include Qatar (2003, 2017),[218][219] Turkey (2013),[220] Israel (2014),[221] and South Africa (2001–2002).[166]

Royal Caribbean International announced in April 2014 that a fully licensed production of Cats will be performed regularly for guests aboard the cruise ship Oasis of the Seas; the production began playing in autumn 2014.[222]

Film adaptationsEdit

Steven Spielberg's Amblimation had planned an animated adaption of the musical, but the project was abandoned with the studio's closure in 1997.[223] The following year, a direct-to-video film was released. The film was directed by David Mallet and was shot at the Adelphi Theatre in London. It starred Elaine Paige as Grizabella, John Mills as Gus, Ken Page as Old Deuteronomy, and Michael Gruber as Munkustrap.[224] The home video released by Universal Pictures in 2002 is certified 18x Platinum in the UK.[225]

In May 2016, a film adaption directed by Tom Hooper for Universal Pictures and Working Title Films was announced.[226] The film will star Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Taylor Swift as Bombalurina, James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger, Idris Elba as Macavity, Ian McKellen as Gus, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots and Francesca Hayward as Victoria. Filming began at the end of 2018 and Cats is scheduled to premiere on 20 December 2019.[227]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Original London productionEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1981 Evening Standard Theatre Awards[228] Best Musical Won
Laurence Olivier Award[229] Actor of the Year in a Musical Brian Blessed Nominated
Wayne Sleep Nominated
Best New Musical Won
Designer of the Year John Napier Nominated
Director of the Year Trevor Nunn Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in a Musical Gillian Lynne Won
1983 Grammy Award[230] Best Cast Show Album Original London cast recording Nominated

Original Broadway productionEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1983 Drama Desk Award[231] Outstanding Actress in a Musical Betty Buckley Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design John Napier Won
Outstanding Lighting Design David Hersey Won
Outstanding Lyrics T. S. Eliot Nominated
Outstanding Music Andrew Lloyd Webber Won
Outer Critics Circle Award[232] Best Broadway Musical Won
Tony Award[233] Best Musical Won
Best Book of a Musical T. S. Eliot Won
Best Original Score Andrew Lloyd Webber and T. S. Eliot Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Harry Groener Nominated
Stephen Hanan Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Betty Buckley Won
Best Direction of a Musical Trevor Nunn Won
Best Choreography Gillian Lynne Nominated
Best Scenic Design John Napier Nominated
Best Costume Design Won
Best Lighting Design David Hersey Won
1984 Grammy Award[234] Best Cast Show Album Original Broadway cast recording Won

North American productionsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1985 Helen Hayes Award[235] Outstanding Lead Actress in a Touring Production Diane Fratantoni Won
Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Touring Production Sal Mistretta Nominated
Outstanding Touring Production National Theatre Nominated
1985 Dora Mavor Moore Award[236][237] Outstanding Choreography T. Michael Reed Won
Outstanding Costume Design John Napier Won
Outstanding Direction David Taylor Won
Outstanding Lighting Design David Hersey Won
Outstanding Musical Direction Stanley Lebowsky Won
Outstanding Production M.T.E. Productions Won
Outstanding Set Design John Napier Won
1990 Carbonell Awards[238] Supporting Actor, Road Show Joey Pizzi Nominated
1993 Carbonell Awards[239] Supporting Actor, Road Show Jimmy Lockett Won
2003 Jeff Award[240] Outstanding Production of a Musical Marriott Theatre Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Marc Robin Won
Outstanding Ensemble The Ensemble Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Nancy Missimi Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Diane Ferry Williams Nominated
Outstanding Music Direction Shawn Stengel Nominated
Outstanding Direction of a Musical Marc Robin Nominated
2005 Helen Hayes Award[241] Outstanding Choreography, Resident Production Toby's Dinner Theatre Nominated
2014 Jeff Award[242] Outstanding Lighting Design – Large Jesse Klug Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Marc Robin Nominated
2014 Dora Mavor Moore Award[236][237] Outstanding Performance – Ensemble The Ensemble Nominated
Outstanding Performance – Female Ma-Anne Dionisio Nominated

Australian productionsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2010 Helpmann Awards[243] Best Female Actor in a Musical Delia Hannah Nominated
Green Room Awards[244] Female Actor in a Leading Role Delia Hannah Nominated
Male Actor in a Leading Role Michael-John Hurney Nominated
Female Actor in a Featured Role Lisa Marie Parker Nominated
Ensemble Performance The Ensemble Nominated

Paris productionsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1989 Molière Award[245][246] Best Musical Won
2016 Best Musical Nominated

2014 London revivalEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2015
Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical Nicole Scherzinger Nominated

2016 Broadway revivalEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2017 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical Mick Potter Nominated
Drama League Award Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Chita Rivera Awards[247] Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show The Ensemble Nominated
Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show Tyler Hanes Nominated
Ricky Ubeda Nominated
Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show Eloise Kropp Nominated
Georgina Pazcoguin Nominated
Christine Cornish Smith Nominated

Revisions to the showEdit

The live production of Cats has undergone several revisions since its London and subsequent Broadway openings. Several songs have had verses cut since the original London cast recording, while some of the original vocal parts have also been re-assigned to other characters.

"Growltiger's Last Stand"Edit

The "Growltiger's Last Stand" sequence has been changed multiple times over the course of the show's history. In the original London production, the "last duet" for Growltiger and Griddlebone was a setting of an unpublished T. S. Eliot poem, "The Ballad of Billy M'Caw". For the original Broadway production, the Ballad was replaced with "In Una Tepida Notte", a pastiche of Italian opera (reminiscent of Puccini's La fanciulla del West). This new version was subsequently incorporated into most productions of Cats worldwide, and eventually the London production.[13] In later productions, a lyric in "Growltiger's Last Stand" was changed to replace the racially insensitive "Chinks" with "Siamese".[14]

By 2008, "The Ballad of Billy M'Caw" had been re-instated in the UK tour productions,[248] but was once again replaced by the Italian aria for the 2014 UK tour and London productions. In the 1998 video version, the entire scene featuring Growltiger was cut due to John Mills' (Gus) old age. By 2016, "Growltiger's Last Stand" had been removed completely from the US and UK productions of the show.[14] In the 2016 Broadway revival, the number was replaced by "The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles",[15] with Gus remembering that he had played the part of the Great Rumpus Cat instead of Growltiger.

Mungojerrie and RumpleteazerEdit

The original London production's version of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer is slower (in 12/8 time) and has a more jazzy sound, while the more common, newer version is faster and more upbeat (4/4 time, with the middle verse in 7/8 time). In the original London production, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer were characters in their own right and sang their own song; this was later changed in the Broadway production, where Mr. Mistoffelees sang Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer in the third person, with Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer as puppets being magically controlled by Mr. Mistoffelees. Eventually, the Broadway version of the song was rewritten to allow Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer to once again sing their own song as full characters. In the current licensed version, based on the recent UK tour, the 7/8 section is reworked into 4/4 with triplet quavers that simulate the original 12/8 version.

Rum Tum TuggerEdit

The 2015 London revival and UK tour introduced numerous 'modernizations' to the show, such as a rapped version of "The Rum Tum Tugger,"[249][250] whose character and costume is also completely reworked, changing him from a ladies-man "rock star" style character, to a "young urban" style cat, changing him also from one of the adult toms, to one of the kittens. The 2015 Australian tour and 2015 Paris productions also used the new Tugger; however, the 2016 Broadway revival does not.

ChoreographyEdit

The 2016 Broadway revival featured new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, who introduced more hip hop and cool jazz elements to the movements and dances.[48][251]

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External linksEdit

Preceded by
A Chorus Line
Longest-running Broadway show
1997–2006
Succeeded by
The Phantom of the Opera