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Cats (musical)

(Redirected from Cats)
This article is about Cats, the musical. For the animal, see cat.

CATS The Musical is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber (ALW) in 1981 based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot.

Cats was first shown in London's West End, at New London Theatre, on May 11, 1981. It was originally produced onstage by Cameron Mackintosh and ALW's The Really Useful Theatre Company . The show then made its debut in Broadway on September 7, 1982 at the Winter Garden Theatre. It played 8,949 performances in London and 7,485 in New York, making it the longest-running musical in both Broadway and London history. (On Broadway, it is the longest running show, musical or non-musical; in London, it is surpassed by The Mousetrap, which opened in the 1950s and is still running). - The first night of the German-speaking world premiere of the musical Cats took place in Vienna, Austria, in the Theater an der Wien, on September 24, 1983.

While Cats is often criticized for its lack of plot, it does have a minimal story used to string its musical numbers together. Cats tells of a particular English feline tribe, the Jellicles, who have convened at a junkyard to decide which of them will be reborn. Each cat "auditions" with a different song or dance number, and some minor complications (involving the abduction of the Jellicle patriarch, Old Deuteronomy) occur before a cat is chosen. It turns out to be Grizabella, "the glamour cat," whose faded charms don't prevent her from singing "Memory ." (The show's best-known song, it has been recorded by over 150 artists.)

In 1998, ALW produced a video version of Cats, based upon the stage performance (augmented for the media of film), starring Elaine Paige (who originated the role of Grizabella in London), Ken Page (who originated Old Deuteronomy on Broadway), Sir John Mills, and John Partridge, among other talented dancers and singers, most of whom appeared in various stage productions of the show. It was directed for film by David Mallet in London's Adelphi Theatre, and was released on VHS and DVD, as well as broadcast on PBS in the United States.

The show's popularity comes despite never being critically acclaimed. Many argue it has a mainstream, family appeal that many other more "prestigious" musicals are lacking. It is and has been one of the most loved musicals of all time, being translated into over 20 languages. It is still playing in a tour across The United Kingdom and in several tours around the world.

At the time Cats was running, several other Broadway plays were promoted with a series of television commercials in which audience members gave bland endorsements; one of these included the phrase "I laughed, I cried...It was better than Cats!", which entered common parlance, and was usually used mockingly: the idea was that a given movie/play/product wasn't just merely good, but surpassed even the wonder that is Cats (the irony lying in the evaluation that Cats wasn't really a standard of great excellence.)

External links

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group
  • IBDb page for the Broadway production

Last updated: 02-16-2005 09:03:31
Last updated: 03-02-2005 06:02:53