Cats (musical)

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 October 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 as of 2005). - 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 now-faded charms do not prevent her from singing "Memory." (The show's best-known song, it has been recorded by over 150 artists. The lyrics are based on Eliot's poems "Rhapsody on a Windy Night" and "Preludes").

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 dancers and singers drawn largely from 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).


The following are some of the characters in the show:

  • Admetus
  • Alonzo, a slightly odd black and white tom.
  • Asparagus "Gus", the theatre cat. Notably played by John Mills.
  • Bombalurina, a rather amazingly beautiful female, good friend and possibly sister of Demeter.
  • Bustopher Jones, a fat cat, a '25 pounder.' He is quite formal.
  • Carbucketty
  • Cassandra, a mysterious female who seems Egyptian.
  • Coricopat, partner of Tantomile. Both of them are thought to have been owned by a witch, and gifted with magic.
  • Demeter, good friend and probably sister of Bombalurnia.
  • Etcetera, a kitten with a unique coat and a happy personality.
  • Grizabella, glamorous old female.
  • Jellylorum,
  • Jemima, one of the kittens, a pretty gifted singer.
  • Jennyanydots, the 'gumby' cat, who sits around until the family is asleep. She helps the mice and bugs be less...messy.
  • Macavity, an evil cat that attempts to kidnap Deuteronomy to ensure his selection
  • The Magical Mr. Mistoffelees, the Original Conjuring Cat (a feline empowered with magic)
  • Mungojerrie, the (most likely) brother of Rumpleteazer,together they steal things and are notorious for it.
  • Munkustrap, the leader. A grey tom who opens the show.
  • Old Deuteronomy, the patriarch, who is captured.
  • Pouncival, the mischevious cat (He has a patch around his eye, which goes across his nose in a line. On the video, he jumps off the tyres and looks at the camera.
  • Rumpleteazer, the (most likely) sister of Mungojerrie, his 'partner in crime.'
  • Rum Tum Tugger, a handsome tom the girls love.
  • Sillabub, Sillabub is the same cat as Jemima. Sillabub is the name used in theater, Jemima used in the CATS movie.
  • Skimbleshanks, the railway cat. An active cat who lives on a train.
  • Tantomile, partner of Coricopat. Both are thought to have been owned by a witch, and gifted with magic.
  • Victoria, a white kitten extremely gifted in dancing, especially ballet.

Musical Numbers

The following are some of the songs from the show:

  • Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats
  • The Old Gumbie Cat
  • The Rum Tum Tugger
  • Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer
  • Old Deuteronomy
  • The Jellicle Ball
  • Grizabella
  • Gus - The Theatre Cat
  • Skimbleshanks The Railway Cat
  • Macavity - The Mystery Cat
  • Mr. Mistoffelees
  • Memory
  • The Journey to The Heaviside Layer
  • The Ad-Dressing of Cats

External links

ja:キャッツ (ミュージカル) zh:猫 (音乐剧)


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