The show that revolutionized musical theater returns to the Crouse-Hinds Theater at the Mulroy Civic Center at OnCenter Nov. 4 and 5.
Based on the book of poems "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot and brought to the stage by master composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Cats" tells the story of a colorful bunch of junkyard cats.
The entire theater is designed to look like the junkyard where these felines play. There are oversized washers, toothpaste tubes, and clothes to make the audience feels like it is in the strange world of the "Jellicle Cats." Though the show is somewhat thin on plot, the costumes and talent of the actors make "Cats" the memorable performance it is.
The main song that came out of the show is, as most people know, "Memory." This heart-wrenching song is sung by the one of the show's standout characters, Grizabella. She sings of a time when she was glamorous, and now she is just a downtrodden worn-out cat. Grizabella is the lucky one who gets to go to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn.
"Cats" was the longest-running Broadway show in history. It opened at the Winter Garden theater October 1982, ending its 18-year reign in September 2000. "Cats'" historic 6,138th performance bumped "A Chorus Line" one slot down in the longevity department. Loved by audiences but tolerated by critics, the London-born production ushered in a new era of the Broadway musical: the mega-event, theater's equivalent of the summer blockbuster.
"Cats" seems like it has been around forever.
During the course of its Broadway run, "Cats" has been seen by an estimated 8 million people, 50 million worldwide. It employed 231 actors, sold 390,000 T-shirts, 130,000 sweat shirts and 1.14 million souvenir books.
Webber, "Cats'" composer, is an interesting, creative man who is the composer of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Evita," "Phantom of the Opera" and other productions. He created the Really Useful Group, whose management, in addition to producing his own work, is active in developing and producing the works of other writers. It is an international entertainment company involved in theater, film, television, video and concert productions, merchandising, magazine publishing, records and music publishing.
Webber has won seven Tonys, three Grammys, five Oliviers, a Golden Glove, an Oscar, the Praemium Imperiale, the Richard Rodgers and the Critics Circle award for Best Musical 2000. He was knighted in 1992.
Webber is considered by most to be the greatest living composer. His musicals have been performed in countless languages and in many countries. He has composed multiple world-renowned musicals and songs. His shows display great talent and all of them are powerful.
His songs have been sung by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Betty Buckley, Patti LuPone, Glen Close, Sarah Brightman, Michael Ball, Michael Crawford, Madonna and The Three Tenors.
Today at 54, Webber has accomplished an overwhelming amount in musical theater and shows no signs of slowing down. His current projects include his new musical "Whistle Down The Wire."