Cats (musical)

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MusicAndrew Lloyd Webber
LyricsT. S. Eliot
Trevor Nunn
BookAndrew Lloyd Webber
Trevor Nunn
Gillian Lynne
BasisOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
Productions1980 Concert
1981 West End
1982 Broadway
International productions
1998 video version
2003–Present US tour (Non-Equity)
2013 UK tour
Awards1981 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical
1983 Tony Award for Best Musical
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MusicAndrew Lloyd Webber
LyricsT. S. Eliot
Trevor Nunn
BookAndrew Lloyd Webber
Trevor Nunn
Gillian Lynne
BasisOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
Productions1980 Concert
1981 West End
1982 Broadway
International productions
1998 video version
2003–Present US tour (Non-Equity)
2013 UK tour
Awards1981 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical
1983 Tony Award for Best Musical

Cats (stylized as CATS) is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. It introduced the song standard "Memory". Cats 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). The show 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 is the second longest-running show in Broadway history, and the fourth longest-running West End musical. It has been performed around the world many times and has been translated into more than 20 languages. In 1998 Cats was turned into a made-for-television film.


Production history

Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats is based on Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939), which the composer recalled as having been a childhood favorite. 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. Andrew 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 wife, Valerie Eliot and she loved the songs that Webber had composed. She gave her blessing for the songs to be adapted into a musical stage play. 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. An unusual musical in terms of its construction, the overture incorporates a fugue and there are occasions when the music accompanies spoken verse. The show is completely told through music with virtually no spoken dialogue in between the songs. Dance is also a key element in the musical especially during the 10 minute Jellicle Ball dance sequence. 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 premiered in the West End at the New London Theatre on 11 May 1981. There was trouble initially as Judi Dench, cast in the role of Grizabella, snapped her achilles tendon during rehearsals prior to the London opening. The role of Grizabella was subsequently taken over by Elaine Paige, who only had 3 days of rehearsal before beginning previews. 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. The musical was produced by Cameron Mackintosh and 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. 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 original 1981 London cast of Cats.

The show made its debut on Broadway on 8 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 closed on 10 September 2000, after a total of 7,485 performances. Its Broadway record was surpassed on 9 January 2006 by The Phantom of the Opera. It remains Broadway's second longest-running show in history. Lloyd Webber stated that when the original show was produced, it cost £900,000, but on Broadway, it cost $5,000,000.[1]

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 with many of the dancers and singers drawn largely from various stage productions of the show.[2] 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. Andrew Lloyd Webber and others on the production team for the film wanted to keep the feeling that viewers watching the film could still get the sense of seeing the show live, by having all views be facing the stage, therefore, getting multiple views of the set, with several close-ups. Beyond the productions in England, the U.S., Canada, and Australia, the musical has been produced professionally in Hungary, Austria, and Japan, 1983; Sydney and Toronto, 1985; Germany, 1986; France, 1989; Mexico, 1991; Netherlands, 1992; Argentina, 1993; Hong Kong, 1994; Spain, 2003; Poland and Czech Republic, 2004; Russia and Estonia, 2005; Israel, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, China and Finland, 2007; Singapore, Hong Kong, Dominican Republic, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, China, Italy, Bulgaria and Japan, 2009; and Brazil and the Philippines, 2010. Cats has been translated into over 20 languages.[3]

A West End revival of Cats is being planned for 2013,[4] along with a rumored Broadway revival.[citation needed] It was announced on August 3, 2012 that a UK tour of the show will open on February 9, 2013, at the Edinburgh Playhouse.[5]

Detailed synopsis

Act I — When Cats Are Maddened by the Midnight Dance

After the overture, the Cats gather on stage and explain the Jellicle tribe and their purpose (Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats). The Cats (who constantly break the fourth wall, in the musical) 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 (The Invitation To 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 Heaviside 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 Rumpleteazer, a pair of near-identical cats. They are petty burglars, very mischievous, and they enjoy causing trouble for human families (Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer).

Finally, the Jellicle patriarch, Old Deuteronomy, shows up (Old Deuteronomy). He is a large old Cat that "has lived many lives" and "married 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 Heaviside Layer. In most productions, at this point, the cats perform a song (The Awful 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 and tries to dance, but her age and decrepit condition prevent her from doing so. Once again, she is shunned by the other cats, but that does not stop her from singing a short version of Memory.

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

After the Jellicle Ball, Old Deuteronomy sings of "what happiness is", referring to Grizabella. This message naturally goes over everyone's heads, so he sends the message again and Jemima (or Sillabub, depending on the production) sings it for everyone to hear, (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". Within his song, a whole locomotive train engine is assembled out of objects in the junkyard, with various cats spinning wheels, holding up the structure and lighting the headlights.

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's minions throw a net over Old Deuteronomy and capture him. 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. Though he holds his own for a time, Macavity is overwhelmed by the two younger tomcats; as the rest of the tribe begins to gang up and surround him, he shorts out the stage lights and escapes in the confusion.

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. Mr. Mistoffelees performs his dance, which is often one of the most intricate and challenging dance solos in the show. The magical cat restores the lights and brings back Old Deuteronomy, earning praise from all the cats. The Jellicle choice can now be made.

After Old Deuteronomy sits down, 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 tire rises from the junk piles, carrying Grizabella and Old Deuteronomy partway toward the sky; he then steps off so she can finish the journey on her own. Old Deuteronomy gives his closing speech to the human audience (The Ad-dressing of Cats) and the show comes to a close.


Musical numbers

Act I
  • Overture – Orchestra
  • "Prologue: Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" – The Company
  • "The Naming of Cats" – The Company
  • "The Invitation to the Jellicle Ball" – Victoria, Quaxo, Munkustrap
  • "The Old Gumbie Cat" – Jennyanydots, Munkustrap, Bombalurina, Jellylorum, Demeter
  • "The Rum Tum Tugger" – Rum Tum Tugger and Company
  • "Grizabella: The Glamour Cat" – Grizabella, Demeter, Bombalurina
  • "Bustopher Jones: The Cat About Town" – Bustopher, Jennyanydots, Jellylorum, Bombalurina
  • "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" – Mungojerrie, Rumpleteazer
  • "Old Deuteronomy" – Munkustrap, Rum Tum Tugger, Old Deuteronomy
  • "The Awefull Battle of The Pekes and the Pollicles" – Munkustrap, Rumpus Cat and Company
  • "The Song of the Jellicles" – The Company
  • "The Jellicle Ball" – Orchestra
  • "Grizabella, The Glamour Cat" (Reprise) – Grizabella
  • "Memory" – Grizabella
Act II
  • "The Moments of Happiness"/"Memory" – Old Deuteronomy, Jemima
  • "Gus: The Theatre Cat" – Asparagus, Jellylorum
  • *"Growltiger's Last Stand", incorporating either 'The Ballad Of Billy M'Caw' or the Italian aria 'In Una Tepida Notte' – Growltiger, Griddelbone, Ghengis, the Siamese, the Crew
  • "Gus: The Theater Cat" (Reprise) – Asparagus
  • "Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat" – Skimbleshanks and Company
  • "Macavity: The Mystery Cat" – Demeter, Bombalurina
  • "Macavity Fight" – Macavity, Munkustrap, Alonzo
  • "Mr. Mistoffelees" – Quaxo, otherwise known as Mr. Mistoffelees, Rum Tum Tugger
  • "Jellicle Choice"/"Daylight" – Munkustrap and Jemima
  • "Memory" (Reprise) – Grizabella, Jemima
  • "The Journey to the Heaviside Layer" – The Company
  • "Finale: The Ad-Dressing of Cats" – Old Deuteronomy

* Not featured in 1998 video

Instrumentation (Current Licensed Version)


Principal characters

These descriptions, in alphabetical order, are based on more recent versions of the show, although there are minor variations from production to production.

Other characters

The more notable minor characters are as follows:

Notable casts

Original London cast[7]

Steven WayneAdmetus
Geraldine GardnerBombalurina
David BaxterCarbucketty
Seeta IndraniCassandra
Donald WaughCoricopat
Sharon Lee-HillDemeter
Anita PashleyElectra
Julie EdmettEtcetera
John ChesterGeorge
Elaine PaigeGrizabella
Stephen TateGus the Theatre Cat/Growltiger
Sarah BrightmanJemima
Myra SandsJennyanydots
Susan Jane TannerJellylorum/Griddlebone
Wayne SleepQuaxo/Mr. Mistoffelees
John ThorntonMungojerrie/Macavity
Jeff ShankleyMunkustrap/Grumbuskin
Brian BlessedOld Deuteronomy/Bustopher Jones
Paul NicholasRum Tum Tugger
Bonnie LangfordRumpelteazer
Ken WellsSkimbleshanks
Femi TaylorTantomile
Finola HughesVictoria
Roland AlexanderAlonzo/Rumpus Cat/Tumblebrutus

Original Broadway cast[8]

Kenneth ArdPlato/Macavity/Rumpus Cat
Betty BuckleyGrizabella
Rene CeballosCassandra
Walter CharlesGenghis
Rene ClementeCoricopat/Mungojerrie
Wendy EdmeadDemeter
Steven GelferCarbucketty / Admetus
Harry GroenerMunkustrap
Stephen HananBustopher Jones/Asparagus/Growltiger
Robert HoshourTumblebrutus
Janet Hubert-WhittenTantomile
Reed JonesSkimbleshanks
Whitney KershawSillabub
Donna KingBombalurina
Christine LangnerEtcetera/Rumpleteazer
Terrence MannRum Tum Tugger
Anna McNeeleyJennyanydots
Hector Jamie MercadoAlonzo
Cynthia OnrubiaVictoria
Ken PageOld Deuteronomy
Susan PowersElectra
Carol RichardsJemima
Joel RobertsonGrumbuskin
Timothy ScottMr. Mistoffelees
Herman W SebekPouncival
Bonnie SimmonsJellylorum/Griddlebone

1998 film cast[9]

Bryn WaltersPlato
Jason GardinerAlonzo
Tony TimberlakeAsparagus
Fergus LoganTumblebrutus
Rosemarie FordBombalurina
James BarronBustopher Jones
Karl MorganPouncival
Rebecca ParkerCassandra
Tommy SliidenCoricopat
Aeva MayDemeter
Leah Sue MorlandElectra
Jo BinghamEtcetera
Femi TaylorExotica
Frank ThompsonRumpus Cat/Admetus
Elaine PaigeGrizabella
Sir John MillsGus the Theatre Cat
Suzie McKennaJennyanydots
Susan Jane TannerJellylorum
Veerle CasteleynJemima
Helen MassieJemima (Singing Voice)
Drew VarleyMungojerrie
Paul BakerMungojerrie (Singing Voice)
Michael GruberMunkustrap
Jacob BrentQuaxo/Mr. Mistoffelees
Bryn WaltersMacavity
Ken PageOld Deuteronomy
John PartridgeRum Tum Tugger
Jo GibbRumpleteazer
Vicky CooteRumpleteazer (Singing Voice)
Geoffrey GarrattSkimbleshanks
David ArneilSkimbleshanks (Singing Voice)
Kaye BrownTantomile
Phyllida Crowley SmithVictoria

Other notable performers

Bill Bailey: Drew Varley, Fergus Logan

Coricopat: Jason Pennycooke

Demeter: Jo Bingham, Ruthie Henshall

Electra: Veerle Casteleyn Kate Keenan

Griddlebone: Ruthie Henshall

Grizabella: Laurie Beechman Dee Roscioli, Ruthie Henshall, Lea Salonga, Paula Lima, Stephanie J. Block, Jacintha Abisheganaden

Jellyorum: Ruthie Henshall

Mistoffelees: Louie Spence, John Partridge, Fergus Logan

Munkustrap: Gary Martin, Steven Houghton, John Partridge

Old Deuteronomy: Bill Nolte

Rumpus Cat/Admetus: Frank Thompson, Jason Gardiner

Rumpelteazer: Veerle Casteleyn, Jo Gibb, Leah-Sue Morland, Jo Bingham

Jemima/Sillabub: Anita Louise Combe, Ruthie Henshall

Victoria: Veerle Casteleyn

Other notable professional casts


TheatrePremiereMunkustrapGrizabellaOld DeuteronomyBustopher Jones
Austria ViennaTheater an der Wien24 September 1983Steve BartonAngelika MilsterGordon BovinetJoachim KemmerUte Lemper, KrisTina Decker, Michael Reardon, Vlada Aviks, Monica Solem
United States Los AngelesShubert Theatre7 January 1985Mark MoralesKim CriswellGeorge Anthony BellGeorge De La Pena, Rebecca Raider
Australia SydneyTheatre Royal, Sydney1985Anthony O'KeefeDebra ByrneJohn Bolton WoodsGrant SmithAnita Louise Combe
Switzerland ZurichMusical Theatre Oerlikon9 August 1991Paul HadobasRuth Jacott / Manuela FeliceJan PolakBrian CarmackTibor Kovats, Rory Campbell, Michael Fritzke,

Kristi Sperling, Nikki Bolen, David Kent, Leslie Wiesner, Lindsay Chambers, Jasna Ivir, Alexander Riff, Adam Jones, Rod Roberts, Daniella Bruenner, T.J Hee, Annetta Wimmer, Tina Decker, Angela Savage, Kati Farkass, Nikki Romaine, Ton Voogt, Leon Julian Taylor, Manfred Sieffert, Michael Larsen Disney, Gene Scheer, Laura Quin, Kevin Alvey, Niki Ankenbrand, Andie Mellom

Mexico Mexico CityTeatro Silvia Pinal19 April 1991Manuel LandetaMaría del SolEnrique del OlmoSusana Zabaleta, Ariel López Padilla, Maru Dueñas, Olivia Bucio, Guillermo de Uslar, Humberto Manlio, Abel David, Marisol Arreola, Manuel Sánchez, David de la Rosa, Meyra Córdova, Gabriel de Cervantes, Alberto Díaz, Cecilia Huerta, Rosalva Navarro, Fabiola Zepeda, Juan Carlos Casasola, Rafael Santiago, Javier Díaz Dueñas, Alejandra Murga, Héctor Arroyo, Estela Barona, Luis René Aguirre, Lenny Zundel, Simone Brooke, Marcela Valiente, Alejandra Valiente, Claudia Meyer, Guillermo Tellez, Jaime Rojas, Ramiro Guzmán, Enrique Calatayud, Armando Moreno
Spain MadridTeatro Coliseum17 December 2003Jack RebaldiHelen de QuirogaPedro Ruy-BlasEnrique SequeroEdu del Prado, Teresa Cora, Raquel Grijalba, Guadalupe Lancho, Marta Malone, Gorane Markínez, Sandra Rausell, Alberto Sánchez, Paqui Sánchez Melchor, Víctor Ullate
Poland WarsawRoma Music Theatre10 January 2004Damian AleksanderIzabela ZającZbigniew MaciasWojciech Paszkowski
Australia HobartDerwent Entertainment Centre17 October 2007Craig IronsDebra ByrneAlan BaconAndrew Casey
Australia South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brisbane, ChinaVarious TheatresJune 2008Shaun RennieDelia HannahHan Lim / John EllisMichael-John HurneyJohn O'Hara, Renee Burleigh, Adrian Ricks, Caleb Bartolo, Markham Gannon,

Brenton Wilson, Justine Puy, Emily Keane, Darren Tyler, Mischana Dellora- Cornish, Brent Osborne, James Cooper, Monique Chanel Pitsikas, Belinda Allchin, Ranjeet Starr, Alyse Jai Davies, Stephanie Silcock, Sam Marks, Brian Gillespie, Anthony Costanzo

Australia Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, SydneyVarious Theatres1 January 2010Shaun RennieDelia HannahJohn EllisMichael-John HurneyJohn O'Hara, Renee Burleigh, Adrian Ricks, Caleb Bartolo, Markham Gannon,

Brenton Wilson, Justine Puy, Emily Keane, Emma Waters, Darren Tyler, Mischana Dellora-Cornish, Brent Osborne, James Cooper, Monique Chanel Pitsikas, Belinda Allchin, Ranjeet Starr, Alyse Jai Davies, Stephanie Silcock, Brian Gillespie,

Brazil São PauloTeatro Abril4 March 2010Julio ManciniPaula LimaSaulo VasconcelosFernando PatauAdenis Vieira, Andreia Vitfer, Andre Saporetti, Andressa Mazzei, Anelita Gallo, Arthur Marques, Carla Cottini, Carol Puntel, Cesar Moura, Cleto Baccic, Daniel Monteiro, Ditto Leite, Fabiane Bang, Fernando Marianno, Fernando Palazza, Fernando Patau, Francine Lobo, Gabriel Brasilio, Gianna Pagano, Guto Muniz, Jhean Allex, Leonardo Wagner, Mariana Barros, Mariana Hidemi, Marina Costa, Max Oliveira, Natacha Travassos, Nick Vila Maior, Olivia Branco, Patricia Athayde, Paulo Borges, Alan Rezende, Sara Sarres, Sefora Araujo, Vanessa Costa
Brazil Rio de JaneiroVivo Rio16 October 2010Julio ManciniPaula LimaFernando PalazzaFernando Patau
Philippines ManilaTanghalang Nicanor AbelardoJuly 2010Shaun RennieLea SalongaJohn EllisMichael-John Hurney
Hungary Budapest/HungaryMadách SzínházÉva AlmásiPéter HaumannIldikó Hűvosvölgyi, Ildikó Kishonti, Péter Cseke, Béla Szerednyei

Awards and nominations

Original London production

1981Laurence Olivier AwardBest New MusicalWon
Outstanding Achievement in a MusicalGillian LynneWon

Original Broadway production

1983Tony AwardBest MusicalWon
Best Book of a MusicalAndrew Lloyd Webber, Trevor Nunn and Gillian LynneWon
Best Original ScoreAndrew Lloyd Webber, T. S. Eliot and Trevor NunnWon
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a MusicalHarry GroenerNominated
Stephen HananNominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a MusicalBetty BuckleyWon
Best Direction of a MusicalTrevor NunnWon
Best ChoreographyGillian LynneNominated
Best Scenic DesignJohn NapierNominated
Best Costume DesignWon
Best Lighting DesignDavid HerseyWon

Revisions to the show

Cats has undergone several revisions since its London and subsequent Broadway openings. The most current version, licensed by The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, is based on the recent UK Tour. This score contains several small cuts, transpositions, additions, reassignment of vocal lines, and a reduced orchestration.

The original London version of the song "Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer" was in 12/8 time and had a jazzy accompaniment. Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer sang their song themselves. For the Broadway production Andrew Lloyd Webber later wrote a new melody 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, with Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer as puppets being magically controlled by Mr. Mistoffelees/Quaxo. This version of the song was in an upbeat 4/4 time with its middle section in 7/8 time and its mood was similar to the original version. Lloyd Webber's new version was used for all subsequent productions of Cats but now Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer sing their number themselves in all productions. In the 1998 film, one stanza was cut. 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.

The "Growltiger's Last Stand" sequence was also revised for the Broadway production. In the original London show, the "last duet" for Growltiger and Griddlebone was a setting of an unpublished T.S. Eliot poem, "The Ballad of Billy M'Caw". For Broadway, the Ballad was replaced with a pastiche of Italian opera (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. Productions 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. "Billy M'Caw" 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.[10] In the video version, the entire scene featuring Growltiger was cut due to John Mills' (Gus) old age. The licensed version of Cats includes both songs, giving individual companies a choice as to which to include.

In recent productions, a lyric in "Growltiger's Last Stand" was changed 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 they swarmed aboard!", although the lyric "Heathen Chinese" remains in the tale of the Pekes and the Pollicles.

The original London cast recording utilised longer versions of "The Old Gumbie Cat", "Old Deuteronomy" and "The Ad-Dressing of Cats" with verses and lines that were cut from later productions.

The US tour continues to use the original Broadway version of the score, including the Italian aria and material cut from newer versions. Only "Pekes and Pollicles" and one verse of "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" are cut from performance.


External links