Today on “Days to Remember” we celebrate the Broadway musical called Cats.
Cats, is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, and produced by Cameron Mackintosh.
The musical 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 introduced the song standard “Memory”. The first performance of “Cats” was opened on October 7th 1982 at Wintergarden Theatre.
In 1997 the show became the longest running show in Broadway history.
As of 2015, Cats is the third longest-running show in Broadway history, and was the longest running Broadway show in history from 1987 to 2006, when surpassed by The Phantom of the Opera.
Cats, is 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.
Today’s YouTube video presented by user name, (coconut man drill) taken from opening day on October 7th 1982.
Weber’s musical introduced several characters from Eliot’s unpublished drafts of the poems, most notably Grizabella! Eliot featured the “Glamour Cat” in a poem he wrote for his godchildren, but which was not included in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats because Eliot thought it was too “sad for children.”
Fortunately for CATS fans, his widow, Valerie Eliot, came to the Sydmonton Festival concert in the summer of 1980, where Andrew Lloyd Webber premiered some of his settings of the Old Possum poems. She enjoyed it so much that she gave Weber several unpublished poems from her late husband, including Grizabella the Glamour Cat, which would become a major plot strand to the musical.
The original production of CATS had casted Judi Dench to play the role of Grizabella, but Dench snapped her Achilles tendon during rehearsals just before the London opening. She was replaced by Elaine Paige, who went on to release a top 10 recording of Memory in the U.K.
The classic hit song Memory has been recorded by over 150 artists including Liberace, Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow, whose recording was a Top 40 hit.
There was even a techno/dance version by European singer Natalie Grant which topped the European dance charts in 1999. The melody of “Memory” was considered for use in the earlier Webber works, Sunset Boulevard and/or Evita.
The memory we hold today, is how the musical Cat’s came out on October 7th 1982, which was pawistively wonderful!
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell