The Musical - Cats
(Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics: T.S. Eliot)
In 1981 following Evita, Lloyd Webber wrote Cats,
his biggest hit. Cats was the longest running British musical in
history. It opened on the11th May 1981 at the New London Theatre and closed
exactly 21 years later on 11th May 2002.
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, a
collection of poems by T.S. Eliot, it contains no spoken dialogue, and revolves
around the antics of a bunch of feline characters, namely: Old Deuteronomy,
Jennyanydots, Mr. Mistoffelees, Rum Tum Tugger, Skimbleshanks, Asparagus,
Mungojerrie, Munkustrap, Rumpleteazer, Griddlebone, and Grizabella who sings the
hit song "Memory" before ascending to cats' heaven at the end.
The original cast included Elaine Paige, Brian
Blessed, Paul Nicholas, Wayne Sleep, Sarah Brightman and Bonnie Langford. On the
opening night the performance was interrupted by a bomb scare and the whole
theatre had to be evacuated. Cats opened in New York Winter Garden
Theatre on October 7, 1982. The original production featured Betty Buckley
(Grizabella), Terrence V. Mann (Rum Tum Tugger), Stephan Hanan (Asparagus),
Timothy Scott ( Mr. Mistoffolees), Ken Page (Deuteronomy), Reed Jones (Skimbleshanks),
Bonnie Simmons (Griddlebone), Christine Langner (Rumpleteazer), Rene Clemente
(Mungojerrie), and Harry Groener (Munkustrap). The production closed on Sunday, September 10, 2000,
as Broadway's longest running show after nearly 18 years and 7,485
The show has taken £136,000,000 at
nearly 9,000 performances in London. Worldwide, Cats has taken in excess of
two billion dollars, and has been seen by
over fifty million people. Cats has been performed in eleven different
languages in twenty six countries. “Memory” has had nearly 53,000
plays on radio and television in the UK alone, and airplays in the USA passed
the two million in 1998.
A posthumous Tony was awarded to T.S.
Eliot 18 years after his death in1965, for his
unwitting contributions to the score.
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