The musical is considered a theatrical masterpiece. Its success has been such that it was translated in to multiple languages and even adapted into a television movie.
Composed and written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical is a worth watching one. He took inspiration from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by Elliot, which he recalls as a childhood favorite. The songs were written to place Elliot’s narrative in musical terms. The composer began composing the songs in 1977 and presented his work in 1980 at the Sydmonton Festival. Elliot’s wife, Valerie Eliot was in attendance and loved the compositions, giving her blessings for it to be incorporated into a musical.
Rehearsals for CATS began in 1981 in London. However there was a problem, since the Elliot Estate requested that only the original text of the poems to be used as the script and no new script lines should be written. This led to the actors being confused at times as to the plot of the play, but it was eventually worked out. The whole story is told through music and dance with hardly any dialogue between the songs. The music highlights Webber’s versatility, as the songs explore a lot of musical genre’s including classical, jazz, rock, pop and even hymns.
Awards and Recognition
The musical opened to rave reviews and was labeled as the best musical of the year. The massive hype surrounding it was well deserved as the musical won numerous awards. It won the prestigious Laurence Olivier and Tony Award for Best Musical. Following its success in London, it premiered at Broadway the following year with the same creative team. The musical also won a Grammy Award for Best Cast Album at the 1982 Award shows. The following year the Broadway show won the same award again.
The London production ran for twenty-one years whereas the Broadway stint continued for eighteen years. Both these runs set new records, as CATS became a worldwide phenomenon. On Broadway CATS became the second longest running show in history and the fourth longest running show in West End history. The musical has been translated into ten languages and been staged all over the world in about 250 cities. CATS was also adapted into a made-for-television film in 1998. Overall the musical has grossed over a whopping billion pounds since its run started.
“Memory” is the most famous song from the musical. Sung by the character Grizabella who is shown as a once a glamorous cat that lost all and is a mere shell of what she once was, the song is a beautifully haunting number which focuses on the glory of times gone by.
The song signals the climax of the musical and is the most famous song associated with CATS. It is one of the songs not based on Elliot’s work, it was written by Webber himself. The lyrics, written by Trevor Nunn, were based on Elliot’s poems, “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” and “Preludes”. It became so famous that it has been sung and covered by countless artists, including Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion.
So do not miss to catch this legendary musical live and purchase your CATS tickets now.