Namely, the score relies heavily on recurring motifs as well as the use of preludes and reprises. For instance, melodic fragments of “Memory” are sung by Grizabella and Jemima at several points in the show before the song is sung in full, serving to characterise Grizabella and foreshadow her final number. Similarly, Lloyd Webber introduces a fugue in the overture, and variations of this theme are then repeated throughout the musical until it is finally resolved as Grizabella ascends to the Heaviside Layer. Rumpus Cat – A spiky-haired cat with glowing red eyes, seen as a sort of superhero figure in “The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles” despite his ineptness. Usually played by one of the male ensemble characters in the play within the musical.
She is a fan of the Rum Tum Tugger and joins the other female kittens in swooning over him. In some productions, she is included in a magic trick during “Magical Mister Mistoffelees”. Madame Tussauds New York features wax figures of several characters from the musical, including one of Grizabella that sings “Memory” through the use of projection mapping technology. Similarly, a wax figure of Rumpleteazer is displayed at the Panoptikum wax museum in Hamburg, Germany. By 2012, the royalty payments from Cats to the Eliot estate had totalled an estimated $100 million.
Logo for “Cats” of 1981, one of the longest running stage productions in recent history. The leading ladies of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats—on stage—reflect on playing the pivotal role and singing the musical’s best-known tune. In the original London production, Judi Dench was cast to play Grizabella and Jennyanydots, doubling characters much as the actor who plays Asparagus also plays Bustopher Jones, without an implied link between the roles. However she was injured in rehearsal, and five days before the first preview Elaine Paige was cast as her replacement. The 2014 London Palladium revival cast Nicole Scherzinger in the role, famous for her glamorous style, and Grizabella’s costume was redesigned in keeping with Nicole’s “Pussycat Doll” look.
He’s as close as the show gets to having a villain but, as with basically everything else in Cats, doesn’t exactly make a tangible impact on the wider (non-existent) narrative. Still, Cats is a massively beloved show that audiences still feel a lot of goodwill to, so it’s no wonder that Universal put down a reported $95 million budget for a family-friendly movie musical, just in time for Christmas. But with only a few days left of 2019, Cats stands as one of the true mega-flops of the year and perhaps one of the worst-reviewed movies of the decade. Elaine Paige originated the role of Grizabella when Cats opened in 1981 in London’s West End . Grizabella was Paige’s second lead character in a Andrew Lloyd Webber production — she played Eva Perón in Webber’s Evita when it opened in London in 1978.
“Growltiger’s Last Stand” has been criticised as being racially offensive. The original lyrics, taken directly from the Eliot poem it is based on, included the ethnic slur “Chinks” and this was later replaced with the word “Siamese”. The number also originally involved the cast putting on “Asian accents” to portray the Siamese cats.In the 1998 video version, the entire scene featuring Growltiger was cut. By 2016, “Growltiger’s Last Stand” had been removed completely from the US and UK productions of the show. The Japanese-language production of Cats by the Shiki Theatre Company has been playing continuously since it premiered in Shinjuku, Tokyo, in November 1983.
The original London production took its final bow on May 11, 2002, exactly 21 years after the show had opened—which, at the time, made Cats the longest-running musical in the West End’s history. To celebrate, a massive outdoor celebration was held between 50th and 51st streets, complete with a laser light show and an exclusive after-party for Cats alums. Seventeen months later, a Broadway production of the musical launched what was to become an 18-year run at the Winter Garden Theatre. But before the show could open, some major adjustments had to be made to the venue. Cats came with an enormous, sprawling set which was far too large for the theater’s available performing space. Consequently, several rows of orchestra seats were removed, along with the Winter Garden’s proscenium arch.
The 2013–2014 UK tour visited cities in Belgium, Greece, Italy, Monaco, and Portugal. Most recently, a UK production played in numerous European cities from 2016 to 2019, with tour stops in Switzerland, Croatia, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. These European tours have featured several notable performers in the role of Grizabella, including Pernilla Wahlgren (Sweden; 2003), Katarína Hasprová (Slovakia; 2016) and Jenna Lee-James (Netherlands; 2018–2019). The first non-replica production of Cats was staged at the Teatr Muzyczny Roma in Warsaw, Poland . November 1985 saw the premiere of a Norwegian-language production at Det Norske Teatret in Oslo.
The original version of “Memory,” re-recorded with the video, rose again to No. 36 on the U.K. Laurie Beechman played Grizabella at New York’s Winter Garden Theater in the latter 1980s and was also first to play the part with a U.S. touring company. Still, according to one account, two weeks before the opening of Cats in May 1981, Webber was concerned that his show lacked a big hit song.
Critics generally found the revivals to be enjoyable and invigorating, though Mark Shenton was disappointed that the new staging lacked the immersiveness of the original. Steven Spielberg’s former animation studio Amblimation had planned an animated adaptation of the musical in the 1990s. The film was to be set in war-torn London during World War II, but the project was abandoned with the studio’s closure in 1997. The film was directed by David Mallet and was shot at the Adelphi Theatre in London. It starred Elaine Paige as Grizabella, John Mills as Gus, Ken Page as Old Deuteronomy, and Michael Gruber as Munkustrap. The musical is also available for school and amateur licensing through The Musical Company.
Grizabella appears surprised by her reaction and starts singing Grizabella the Glamour Cat to her. But Grizabella gets interrupted by Cassandra who threatens to scratch her. Then Cassandra starts to sing Grizabella the Glamour cat in a hateful way. Demeter soon joins in on the song and together they start to mock her. Slowly the whole tribe joins in on the singing and keeps moving towards her. Finally Grizabella has enough and she hisses loudly at them before crawling away into an alley.
This production was based on the 2014 London revival and also featured a new song written especially for the French show by Lloyd Webber. Stage parodies of the musical have also been mounted in the West End and Off-Broadway. CAT – (THE PLAY!!!), a one-man show written by Jamie Beamish and Richard Hardwick, is a dark comedy about the fictitious life of Dave, a cat who was fired from the original London production of Cats on opening night. , a parody mashup of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Cats by Bob and Tobly McSmith, premiered Off-Broadway at the Elektra Theatre in June 2016.
As with the contrasting music and dance styles, the costumes and make-up are used to bring out each character’s distinct personality. For example, the costume for the flirtatious Bombalurina is designed to accentuate her sensuality, while the markings on the costume for Jemima — the youngest of the tribe — resemble crayon scribbles. Every character’s design motif is custom-painted by hand onto a plain unitard to line up with their performer’s individual body. In order to reproduce the “hand-drawn aesthetic” of Napier’s original design sketches, costume painters in the original Broadway production used squeeze bottles to apply the paint. Due to the amount of dancing in Cats, most of the costumes did not last longer than a few months. The original staging of Cats at the New London Theatre was considered revolutionary and “one of the first truly immersive theatrical experiences”.
As Grizabella returns near the end of the musical, she sings the full version of the song as she pleads for acceptance, with Jemima joining in briefly to urge her on. “Memory” is a show tune composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Trevor Nunn based on a poem by T. It was written for the 1981 musical Cats, where it is sung primarily by the character Grizabella as a melancholic remembrance of her glamorous past and as a plea for acceptance. “Memory” is the climax of the musical and by far its best-known song, having achieved mainstream success outside of the musical. According to musicologist Jessica Sternfeld, it is “by some estimations the most successful song ever from a musical.” When not taken from a corresponding eponymous poem, many of the character names from the musical are taken from Eliot’s poem “The Naming of Cats”.
After the musical’s debut, “Memory” won Best Song Musically and Lyrically at the 1982 Ivor Novello Awards (give me an excuse to write about Ivor Novello and I’ll do it). Apparently when Andrew Lloyd Webber’s father heard the song, he told him it “sounds like a million dollars,” which is accurate, because it’s the reason people buy tickets to Cats. By 1997, when Cats eclipsed Chrous Line as the longest running musical on Broadway, it was also pumping a sizeable sum of money into the New York economy. A study done for Cats by one marketing group at that time found the musical had contributed $3.12 billion to the city’s economy, most of it through foreign tourism, and more than $195 million in state and local taxes.