Cats is completely told through music with no dialogue in between the songs, although there are occasions when the music accompanies spoken verse. Lloyd Webber's compositions employ an eclectic range of musical styles so as to magnify the characters' contrasting personalities. For example, the rebellious Rum Tum Tugger is introduced with a rock song ("The Rum Tum Tugger"); the fallen Grizabella is accompanied by a dramatic operatic aria ("Grizabella: The Glamour Cat"); Old Deuteronomy makes his grand entrance to a lullaby-turned-anthem ("Old Deuteronomy"); and Gus' nostalgia for the past is reflected through an old-fashioned music hall number ("Gus: The Theatre Cat"). Many of the songs are pastiches of their respective genres, which Snelson attributes to the show's origins as a song cycle:
The original London production received mostly rave reviews, with critics hailing it as a watershed moment in British musical theatre. Michael Billington of The Guardian lauded Cats as "an exhilarating piece of total theatre". Billington praised the show's "strong framework" and the ease in which the poems were integrated. He was also very impressed by Lloyd Webber's fitting compositions, Napier's environmental set, Lynne's effective and at times brilliant choreography, and Nunn's "dazzling staging" that makes use of the entire auditorium. The show received similarly glowing reviews from The Sunday Times' Derek Jewell and The Stage's Peter Hepple. Jewell proclaimed it to be "among the most exhilarating and innovative musicals ever staged", while Hepple declared that with Cats, "the British musical has taken a giant leap forward, surpassing in ingenuity and invention anything Broadway has sent us".
A film adaptation directed by Tom Hooper for Universal Pictures and Working Title Films is scheduled to premiere on 20 December 2019. The film will star Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Taylor Swift as Bombalurina, James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger, Idris Elba as Macavity, Ian McKellen as Gus, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots and Francesca Hayward as Victoria.
The musical was scheduled to open on 30 April 1981, with previews starting on 22 April. Shortly before tickets went on sale in mid-February, Nunn revealed to the alarmed producers that he was struggling to write the script for the musical. Despite still having no established book or score, rehearsals began on 9 March 1981 in a church hall in Chiswick, London. The original music director, Chris Walker, became so frustrated with the unfinished score that he quit by lunchtime and was replaced by the film conductor Harry Rabinowitz. The situation improved later that day when Lloyd Webber, Mackintosh and Nunn met with Stilgoe, a musician known for his ability to improvise lyrics on the spot, in hopes that Stilgoe could write an opening song for the musical. By the next evening, Stilgoe had produced a draft for "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats". However, "Memory", an 11 o'clock number for Grizabella that Nunn insisted the show needed as its "emotional centre", still had no lyrics at this point. Lloyd Webber's former writing partner Tim Rice was brought in to write a lyric for the song, but his version was rejected by Nunn for being too depressing. The lyrics for "Memory" were not completed by Nunn until well into the previews.
After the fight, Rum Tum Tugger calls upon the magician Mr. Mistoffelees for help ("Magical Mr. Mistoffelees"). Known as the "original conjuring cat", Mr. Mistoffelees can perform feats of magic that no other cat can do. He displays his magical powers in a dance solo and uses them to restore the lights and bring back Old Deuteronomy. Now, the Jellicle Choice can be made.
^ Zorro, the last cat of a colony at the Merrimack River in Newburyport, Massachusetts, died in 2009 at age 16. "Trap-Neuter-Return Effectively Stabilizes and Reduces Feral Cat Populations: Trap-Neuter-Return Humanely Stabilized and Reduced in Size the Merrimack River Colony" Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Alley Cat Allies, accessed 18 August 2014; an earlier article in the LA Times was written when Zorro was the last remaining living cat: "Advocates report success with trap, neuter, return approach to stray cats" Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Times, 29 September 2009.
Thomas Deeny is a graphic designer who specializes in book layout and game design. His layout work can be found in roleplaying games like John Wick Presents' 7th Sea, Atlas Games' Unknown Armies and Over the Edge, MCDM Production's Strongholds and Followers, and Modiphius Entertainment’s Star Trek Adventures. He lives in a house in the middle of a spooky forest at the edge of civilization.
"It was the custom to burn a basket, barrel, or sack full of live cats, which was hung from a tall mast in the midst of the bonfire; sometimes a fox was burned. The people collected the embers and ashes of the fire and took them home, believing that they brought good luck. The French kings often witnessed these spectacles and even lit the bonfire with their own hands. In 1648 Louis XIV, crowned with a wreath of roses and carrying a bunch of roses in his hand, kindled the fire, danced at it and partook of the banquet afterwards in the town hall. But this was the last occasion when a monarch presided at the midsummer bonfire in Paris. At Metz midsummer fires were lighted with great pomp on the esplanade, and a dozen cats, enclosed in wicker cages, were burned alive in them, to the amusement of the people. Similarly at Gap, in the department of the Hautes-Alpes, cats used to be roasted over the midsummer bonfire."
In the 1980s, the success of local productions of Cats in Tokyo, Sydney, Vienna, Hamburg, and Toronto were turning points that established these cities (and their respective countries) as major commercial markets in the global theatrical circuit. The musical was also a boon for the Broadway touring industry. In 1997, The New York Times credited the regional and touring productions of Cats with "almost single-handedly reviv[ing] the sagging road business". Cats revolutionised the touring business by introducing the now commonplace practice of extended touring engagements that can last several weeks or months in a single city, as opposed to the typical one-week or ten-day tour stop. Mackintosh's insistence that all touring productions of Cats replicate the Broadway production also resulted in the expansion and upgrading of regional theatre venues to accommodate the musical's demanding logistical requirements, as local theatre owners did not want to miss out on the opportunity to host the lucrative show.
Meanwhile, the Carré Theatre in Amsterdam, Netherlands, staged the musical in 1987 (with Ruth Jacott as Grizabella), 1988 and from 1992 to 1993. Cats made its French debut at the Théâtre de Paris from February 1989 to April 1990, with an original cast that included Gilles Ramade as Old Deuteronomy. The show was also produced in Zürich at the ABB Musical Theatre from 1991 to 1993, while a production by Joop van den Ende and the Royal Ballet of Flanders was staged at the Stadsschouwburg Antwerpen in Belgium in 1996. An English/German-language "Eurotour" production also toured the region from May 1994 to December 1995.
Cats, like dogs, are digitigrades. They walk directly on their toes, with the bones of their feet making up the lower part of the visible leg. Cats are capable of walking very precisely because, like all felines, they directly register; that is, they place each hind paw (almost) directly in the print of the corresponding fore paw, minimizing noise and visible tracks. This also provides sure footing for their hind paws when they navigate rough terrain. Unlike most mammals, when cats walk, they use a "pacing" gait; that is, they move the two legs on one side of the body before the legs on the other side. This trait is shared with camels and giraffes. As a walk speeds up into a trot, a cat's gait changes to be a "diagonal" gait, similar to that of most other mammals (and many other land animals, such as lizards): the diagonally opposite hind and fore legs move simultaneously.
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