|Music||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Lyrics||T. S. Eliot
|Book||Andrew Lloyd Webber
|Basis||Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot|
1981 West End
1998 video version
2003-Present US tour (Non-Equity)
|Awards||Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical
Olivier Award for Choreography
Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Book
Tony Award for Best Original Score
The musical first opened in the West End in 1981 and then on Broadway in 1982. Each time directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, it won numerous awards, including both the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for Best Musical. The London production ran for twenty one years and the Broadway production ran for eighteen years, both setting long-run records. Actresses Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley became particularly associated with the musical. One actress, Marlene Danielle, performed in the Broadway production for its entire run (from 1982 until 2000).
Cats is based on Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939), which the composer recalled as having been a childhood favourite. The songs of the musical comprise Eliot's verse set to music by the composer, the principal exception being the most famous song from the musical, "Memory", for which the lyrics were written by Trevor Nunn after an Eliot poem entitled "Rhapsody on a Windy Night". Also, a brief song entitled "The Moments of Happiness" was taken from a passage in Eliot's Four Quartets. An unusual musical in terms of its construction, the overture incorporates a fugue and there are occasions when the music accompanies spoken verse. The set, consisting of an oversized junk yard, remains the same throughout the show without any scene changes. Lloyd Webber's eclecticism is very strong here; musical genres range from classical to pop, music hall, jazz, rock and electro-acoustic music as well as hymnal songs such as "The Addressing of Cats".
Cats was first shown in London's West End Theatre West End, at the New London Theatre. 11 May 1981. There was trouble during the beginning as Judi Dench, cast in the role of Grizabella, snapped a tendon during rehearsals prior to the London opening. The role of Grizabella was subsequently taken over by Elaine Paige; the role was beefed up for Paige and the song 'Memory' (originally to be sung by Geraldine Gardner in the role of the red cat Bombalurina) was given to Paige. It was originally produced onstage by Cameron Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group. It was directed by Trevor Nunn, associate director and choreographer Gillian Lynne, designed by John Napier with lighting by David Hersey. 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 to the delight of 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 show made its debut on Broadway on 7 October 1982, at the Winter Garden Theatre with the same production team. On 19 June 1997, Cats became the longest-running musical in Broadway history with 6,138 performances. It played a total of 7,485 performances in New York. Its New York record was surpassed on 9 January 2006 by The Phantom of the Opera, which was also composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Cats' final performance on Broadway was on 10 September 2000. It remains Broadway's second longest-running show in history. Interestingly, Andrew Lloyd Webber pointed out that when the original show was put on, it cost £900,000, but on Broadway, it cost $5,000,000, highlighting how expensive it is to put a show on in New York.
In 1998, Lloyd Webber produced a video version of Cats, based upon the stage version, starring Elaine Paige, who originated the role of Grizabella in London; Ken Page, who originated Old Deuteronomy on Broadway; Sir John Mills as Gus; Michael Gruber as Munkustrap; John Partridge as The Rum Tum Tugger; Jo Gibb as Rumpelteazer and many other dancers and singers drawn largely from various stage productions of the show. It was directed by David Mallet, with choreography and musical staging by the show's respected original creator Gillian Lynne in London's Adelphi Theatre, and was released on VHS and DVD, as well as broadcast on television worldwide. Cats has been translated into over 20 languages.
After the overture, the Cats gather on stage and explain the Jellicle tribe and their purpose ('Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats'). The Cats spot the human audience and explain how the different Cats of the tribe are named ('The Naming of Cats'). This is followed by a dance from Victoria the White Cat that signals the beginning of the Jellicle Ball and Munkustrap tells us that tonight is the night when Old Deuteronomy will choose a cat to be reborn into a new life on the Heavyside Layer.
Munkustrap appears and introduces Jennyanydots ('The Old Gumbie Cat'), a large tabby cat. She "sits and sits and sits" all day, while at night she rules over the mice and cockroaches, teaching various activities to them. Jennyanydots finishes, greets the other cats, but is interrupted. The music instantly changes, and The Rum Tum Tugger makes an extravagant entrance ('The Rum Tum Tugger'). The Tugger is a Tom with a wild mane and leopard spots on his chest. He is very fickle and unappeasable, "for he will do as he do do and there's no doing anything about it".
A shabby old grey cat stumbles out and looks around. It is Grizabella. All the cats back away. The cats sing of her saddened, unfortunate state ('Grizabella: The Glamour Cat'). Grizabella leaves and the music changes to a cheerful upbeat. Bustopher Jones, a fat cat in "a coat of fastidious black", appears ('Bustopher Jones: The Cat About Town'). Bustopher Jones is among the elite of the cats, and visits prestigious gentleman's clubs. A loud crash startles the tribe. Could this be Macavity? The cats run off the stage in fright. Hushed giggling signals the entrance of Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer, a pair of near-identical cats. They are petty burglars, very mischievous, and they enjoy causing trouble for human families ('Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer').
Finally, the Jellicle patriarch, Old Deuteronomy, shows up ('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 one who will choose which Jellicle cat will go to the Heavyside Layer. In most productions, at this point, the cats perform a song ('The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles') for Old Deuteronomy. It is a story about two dog tribes clashing in the street and subsequently being scared away by the Great Rumpus Cat, a cat with flashing red eyes. After a few words from Old Deuteronomy on the destiny of Jellicle Cats and Pollicle Dogs, a second loud crash, presumably from Macavity, sends the alarmed cats scurrying. But Old Deuteronomy calls them back and the main celebration begins ('The Jellicle Ball'), in which the cats sing, dance and display their "terpsichorean powers".
After the Ball, Grizabella reappears, refusing to be left out of the festivities. Once again, she is shunned by the other cats, but that does not stop her from singing a short version of 'Memory'.
After the Jellicle Ball, Old Deuteronomy sings of “what happiness is”.Referring to Grizabella. ('The Moments of Happiness'). Gus — short for Asparagus — shuffles forward ('Gus: The Theatre Cat'). He is the cat that once was a famous actor but now he is old and “suffers from palsy which makes his paws shake”. He is accompanied by Jellylorum, who tells of his exploits. Gus then remembers how he once played the infamous Growltiger, Terror of the Thames ('Growltiger's Last Stand'). He tells the story about the pirate's romance with Griddlebone and how he was overtaken by the Siamese and forced to walk the plank.
Back in the present, after Gus exits, Skimbleshanks is sleeping in the corner ('Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat'), a cat who is unofficially in charge of the night train to Glasgow. He is very clever and very important because if he is gone “the train can’t start”.
With a third crash and an evil laugh, the "most wanted" cat, Macavity appears. He is a “master criminal” and never is found at the scene of the crime. He is a horrifying looking cat and a “villain” of the Jellicle Tribe. Macavity shows up and captures Old Deuteronomy. As the other cats try to follow him, Demeter and Bombalurina sing what they know about Macavity, as they have had some sort of past with him ('Macavity: The Mystery Cat'). When they are finished, Macavity returns disguised as Old Deuteronomy. When revealed by Demeter, he fights with Munkustrap and Alonzo.
The Rum Tum Tugger suggests that the cats find Mr. Mistoffelees ('Magical Mr. Mistoffelees'). Mr. Mistoffelees is black and small and can perform many feats of magic that no other cat can do. The magical cat succeeds in bringing back Old Deuteronomy. He is praised by all the cats. The Jellicle choice can now be made.
Old Deuteronomy sits down and Grizabella appears for the final time. Old Deuteronomy allows her to have a chance to address the cats. Her faded appearance and lonely disposition have little effect on her song ('Memory'). The appeal succeeds and she is chosen to be the one ('Journey to the Heaviside Layer'). A large tyre rises up with Old Deuteronomy and Grizabella. Once at the top Grizabella finishes the journey herself. Old Deuteronomy gives his closing speech to the human audience ('The Ad-dressing of Cats') and the show comes to a close.
* Not featured on 1998 video
These descriptions, in alphabetical order, are based on more recent versions of the show, although there are minor variations from production to production. cats
Chorus and dance roles. Many characters are production-specific versions of the same role. Often non-principal characters are omitted from smaller productions.
Original London cast
The London cast of 1981.
Original Broadway cast
|James Barron||Bustopher Jones|
|Leah Sue Morland||Electra|
|Frank Thompson||Admetus/Rumpus Cat|
|Sir John Mills||Gus the Theatre Cat|
|Susan Jane Tanner||Jellylorum|
|Ken Page||Old Deuteronomy|
|John Partridge||Rum Tum Tugger|
|Phyllida Crowley Smith||Victoria|
Trenard L Mobley=Alonzo
Stephanie L. Campbell=Cassandra
Chris Mackenthun=Quaxo/Mr. Mistoffelees
Philip Peterson=Old Deuteronomy
Michael J. Rios=Pouncival
Adam Steiner=Rum Tum Tugger
John Jacob Lee=Skimbleshanks
|West End||New London Theatre||11 May 1981||Jeff Shankley||Elaine Paige||Brian Blessed||(see full cast above)|
|Broadway||The Winter Garden Theatre||7 October 1982||Harry Groener||Betty Buckley||Ken Page||(full cast above)|
|Budapest||Madách Theatre||25 March 1983||Ilona Bencze, Viktória Bajza||Balázs Póka||Haumann Péter|
|Vienna||Theater an der Wien||24 September 1983||Steve Barton||Angelika Milster||Gordon Bovinet||Pia Douwes, Ute Lemper|
|Tokyo||CATS Theater||11 November 1983||Sintaro Sonooka||Akiko Kuno||Takanori Yamamoto|
|Los Angeles||Shubert Theatre||7 January 1985||Mark Morales||Kim Criswell||George Anthony Bell||Adrea Gibbs, J Kathleen Lamb, George De La Pena, Linden Waddell, Sally Spencer|
|Sydney||Theatre Royal||1985||Debra Byrne||John Woods|
|Toronto||Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres||14 March 1985||Kathy Michael McGlynn||David Walden|
|Hamburg||Operettenhaus||18 April 1986||Andrea Bögel||Walter Reynolds|
|Paris||Théâtre de Paris||23 February 1989||Matthew Jessner||Gay Marshall||Gilles Ramade|
|Mexico City||Teatro Silvia Pinal||19 April 1991||Manuel Landeta||María del Sol||Enrique del Olmo||Susana Zabaleta|
|Amsterdam||Koninklijk Theater Carré||27 November 1992||Ellen Evers||Brian Galliford|
|Buenos Aires||Teatro Lola Membrives||1 June 1993||Olivia Bucio||Alfredo Alessandro|
|Hong Kong||Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts||1994|
|Madrid||Teatro Coliseum||17 December 2003||Jack Rebaldi||Helen de Quiroga||Pedro Ruy Blas||Víctor Ullate Roche|
||10 January 2004||Izabela Zając, Daria Druzgała, Joanna Węgrzynowska||Zbigniew Macias, Robert Dymowski, Andrzej Kostrzewski|
|2004-2005 National Tour||Various theatres in North America||2004-2005||Ben Becton||Natalie Attino||Jason Simon||John Boy (Tugger), Adam Tackett (Skimbleshanks), Adam Perry (Alonzo), Anat Pelleg, Christine LaDuca, Amy Phillips, Kym Chambers, Steven Rich, Charles Redding, Gregory Haney, Lisa Schale, Amy Desiato|
|Prague||Divadlo Milenium||5 November 2004||Laco Hudec||Yvetta Blanarovičová, Dita Hořínková, ZUZA||Zdeněk Plech, Dalibor Tolaš, Pavel Vančura|
|Moscow||MDM (Moskovsky Dvorets Molodezhy)||18 March 2005||Ivan Ozhogin||Elena Charkviani ru:Чарквиани, Елена Викторовна, Nadezhda Solovyova||Oleg Fed'kushov|
|Tartu||Theatre Vanemuine||May 2005||Anita Meijer, Pia Douwes, Vera Mann, Antje Monteiro, Lone van Roosendaal||Marco Bakker, Jan Polak|
|Brisbane||Sydney Street Theatre||17 August 2007||Justin Truloff||David Knijnenburg||Angel Dormer||Justin Geange|
|Ramat Gan||Beit Zvi School of Performing Arts||1 September 2007||Shahar Yishai/Amir Hilel||Hila Zittoun||Noam Talmon|
|Hobart||Derwent Entertainment Centre||17 October 2007||Michael Lampard||Debra Byrne||Alan Bacon|
|2007 Asia Tour||Various Theatres Taiwan, Thailand||January, 2007||Shaun Rennie||Francesca Arena||Martin Croft|
|2007 South Korea Tour||Daegu Opera House and others National Theater of Korea||31 May 2007||Shaun Rennie, Ranjeet Starr||Francesca Arena||Han Lim||Rohan Browne(Tugger)|
|2007 China Tour||Various Theatres Macau, Guangzhou, Beijing, Wuhan, Chengdu, Dongguan, Shenzhen||24 December 2007||Francesca Arena||Han Lim|
|2007-2008 North American Tour||Various theaters around the US and Canada||October 2007||Justin Huebener||Patricia Tanguy||Seth Lerner||Felix Hess, Sari Feldman, Kristy Cavanaugh, Cara Noel, Cara Fish|
|Lahti||Lahden Kaupunginteatteri||17 October 2007||Tuukka Leppänen||Sinikka Sokka||Matti Siitonen|
|Quebec City||Salle Albert-Rousseau||23 April 2008||Yannick Vezina||Marilou Ferland Daigle||Louis-David Faucher|
|Launceston||Princess Theatre||15 August, 2008||Bart Welch||Ebony Best||Angus Gibb||Allison Snare|
|Sofia||National Musical Theatre||31 January, 2009||Olga Dinova||Nickolay Petrov|
|Singapore||Esplanade Theatre ||10 April, 2009||Shaun Rennie||Delia Hannah||John Ellis||Michael-John Hurney (Gus)|
|Hong Kong||Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts||15 May, 2009||Shaun Rennie||Delia Hannah||John Ellis||Michael-John Hurney (Gus)|
|Dominican Republic||Teatro Nacional Eduardo Brito, Teatro Nacional (Santo Domingo)||8 May, 2009||Ana Rivas||Antonio Melenciano|
|Stirling||Stirling Theatre||4 August, 2009||Allison SomerVille||Craig MaGuire||Armando Lozano (Macavity)|
|Auckland||The Civic||6 June, 2009||Cameron Clayton||Tina Cross||Ian Campbell||Shane Cortese (Rum Tum Tugger)|
|Brisbane, Queensland||QPAC theatre||17 July, 2009||Shaun Rennie||Delia Hannah||John Ellis||Michael-John Hurney (Gus)|
|Stockholm||Cirkus||3 September 2009||Niklas Andersson||Malena Tuvung||Fred Johanson||Per Myrberg (Gus/Growltiger), Peter Harryson (Bustopher Jones), Ann-Louise Hanson (Jennyanydots), Rennie Mirro (Rum Tum Tugger)|
|Oslo||Chat Noir||September 2009||Lars Jacob Holm||Liv Eirin Francis||Per Vollestad||Toralv Maurstad (Gus), Charlotte Våset, Håkon Sigernes, Kristin Berg, Solveig Andsnes, Geir Gundersen, Petter Aagaard, Reidun Sæther, Øyunn Bjørge, Bjørn Wettre Holthe, Atle Karsten Solberg, Fransiska Sveinall, Sivert Hauge, Thea Bay, Michelle Purvis, Anett Amundsen, Selma Winje, Sara Foss Aaserud, Signe Marie Øen Carlsen, Casandra Strand Simon, Rebecca Weng, Gulla Nordmoen|
|Johannesburg||Teatro Montecasino (Artscape Cape Town)||26 September 2009||Jonathan Roxmouth||Angela Killian||Marcus Desando||Robert Finlayson (Gus)|
|2009 China Tour||Various Theatres Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Dongguan, Shenzhen||5 September 2009||Shaun Rennie||Delia Hannah||John Ellis|
|2009 Italia Tour||Various Theatres Roma, Napoli, Bari, Torino, Firenze, Prato, Milano, Bologna, Trento, Pordenone, Assisi, Genova, Rimini, Reggio Emilia||28 Ottobre 2009||Andrea Verzicco||Giulia Ottonello||Alessandro Neri||Azzurra Adinolfi, Federica Baldi, Gianluca Ciatti, Roberto Colombo, Simone De Rose, Tiziano Edini, Stefania Fratepietro, Silvana Isolani, Alessandro Lanzillotti, Roberta Miolla, Fabio Monti, Massimiliano Pironti, Maria Silvia Roli, Andrea Rossi, Laura Safina, Loredana Sartori, Chiara Vecchi, Giuseppe Verzicco, Chiara Vinci|
|Yokohama||Canon CATS Theater||11 November 2009||Kiyomiti Siba||Sayoko Hayami||Sizuo Tanei|
|Adelaide, South Australia||Adelaide Festival Centre||31 December 2009||Shaun Rennie||Delia Hannah||John Ellis||Michael-John Hurney (Gus)|
|São Paulo, Brazil||Teatro Abril||4 March 2010||Júlio Mancini||Paula Lima||Saulo Vasconcelos|
|Philippines||Cultural Center of the Philippines||July 2010||Lea Salonga|
1981 Award wins
1983 Award wins
1983 Award nominations
Andrew Lloyd Webber revised the Growltiger's Last Stand sequence for the Broadway production of Cats. In the original London show, the duet for Growltiger and Griddlebone was a setting of an unpublished T.S. Eliot poem, "The Ballad of Billy M'Caw". For Broadway, he replaced the Ballad with a pastiche of Italian aria (reminiscent of Puccini's Madama Butterfly). This new version was subsequently incorporated into most productions of Cats worldwide (A notable exception was the Hungarian production at the Madách Színház in Budapest which opened in 1983 and is still running in repertory as of early 2008 celebrating its 25th anniversary on 25 March 2008, as the longest running musical in Hungarian theatre history. Production in Helsinki and Prague also used the original version.) The Ballad remained in the London production until some time in the early 1990s when it was replaced with the Italian aria pastiche. It was re-instated for the UK Tours, following the show's closure in London. Lloyd Webber has said that he is pleased with the reinstatement of The Ballad of Billy M'Caw as he didn't care for the "Italian aria" version. In the video version, the entire scene featuring Growltiger was cut out, due to John Mills' (Gus) old age.
The song "Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer" has had three different versions in the past. In the original London production, Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer sang their song in 12/8 time to a jazzy accompaniment. Andrew Lloyd Webber later wrote a new melody for the Broadway production, for Mr. Mistoffelees (also called Quaxo) to sing about Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer in the third person. The point of the scene on Broadway was to entertain Bustopher Jones. Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer were puppets being magically controlled by Mr. Mistoffelees/Quaxo. The tempo remained upbeat (now in 4/4 time, switching to 7/8 in the middle section) and the mood of the song was similar to the original version. Lloyd Webber's new version was used for all subsequent productions of Cats, although Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer now sing their number themselves (making the Broadway and London productions identical). In the 1998 film, one stanza was cut out.
In recent productions, a lyric in "Growltiger's Last Stand" was changed in order to remove any racially insensitive language. "With a frightful burst of fireworks the Chinks they swarmed aboard!" became "with a frightful burst of fireworks, the Siamese swarmed aboard!", although the lyric "Heathen Chinese" remains in the tale of the Pekes and the Pollicles.
T.S. Eliot's poem "Cat Morgan Introduces Himself" was never actually made into a song.
In the original London production Munkustrap and the Tugger sing an extra verse in Old Deuteronomy's song. This second verse was later cut in subsequent productions.
Cats is an award-winning musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. Most of the lyrics are taken with little or no change from Eliot. First performed in 1981, the show has since been performed around the world in numerous productions and has been translated into more than 20 languages
Cats is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who wrote the music. Most of the words come from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which is a book of poems by T.S. Eliot. In this musical, the cats act like people and have different personalities. Many things happen in this musical, but one of the important things is that a cat is chosen to go to the "Heaviside Layer", which is like a heaven for cats.
Cats was first shown in London in 1981, with Elaine Paige first playing the role of Grizabella who sings "Memory", a memorable song in the show. It was shown on Broadway starting in 1982. The musical has since been made into many languages, and it has been shown around the world.