CATS the Musical

CATS the musical is a theatrical play by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber centered around a number of interesting cat characters.

Webber's musical production, aptly named CATS, is based on a collection of nursery rhymes. Written by T.S. Eliot, they were originally published in 1939 as Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

Since these were verses from nursery rhymes without any central theme to hold it together, the collection wasn't really ripe for a musical theater production. The characters were certainly colorful, though, and you can guess that by their names alone.

These "practical cats" included such characters as:

  • The Old Gumbie Cat
  • Old Deuteronomy
  • Mr. Mistoffelees
  • Growltiger
  • Rum Tum Tugger
  • Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat
  • Mungojerrie
  • Rumpleteazer
  • Macavity: The Mystery Cat
  • Bustopher Jones: The Cat about Town

For nursery rhymes, that seems like a mouthful to me!

The thing that pulled it all together for Lord Webber was an unpublished handwritten verse given to him by Eliot's widow. This verse, called "Grizabella, the Glamour Cat," offered Webber the basis for the central character needed to create the play.


Facts About CATS the Musical

  • CATS first opened in 1981.
  • In total, the show has 36 feline characters.
  • In 1983, CATS won 7 Tony Awards including best musical, best costumes, and best lighting.
  • CATS is the longest continuously touring musical in American theater history. Its Broadway run ended on September 10, 2000.
  • CATS has been seen in 26 countries on 5 continents.

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