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    Cats Musical on Broadway: plot, history, songs and useful info

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    Lluis Enric Mayans

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    Cats is not only one of the Broadway's most famous musicals, but it is among the first among those that have been staged longer. I had the pleasure of going to see it and have wonderful memories of this amazing mix of music, dance, costumes and skill of the actors. You will find below some information on the history and plot of this iconic musical, now also available in video format.


    • The history of the Musical
    • Musical Cats: The Plot
    • Info on programming and tickets
    • Where to sleep in the area

    The history of the Musical

    The musical Cats was staged in Broadway theaters for 18 years, from 7 October 1982 to 10 September 2000 with 7485 repeats. It was one of the most performed musicals in Broadway history and London's West End. The show ran in over 250 cities and was translated into 10 languages. The song Memory became an international success, sung by artists such as Celin Dion, Barbra Streisand and Pavarotti, Carreras and Placido Domingo.

    The first production of the musical is English: it took place at New London Theatre in London's West End on May 11, 1981. Given the great success, the following year the musical opened at Broadway and over the years various productions have been made all over the world. In London the show ran for over 20 years with a total of 8949 performances. To celebrate the latest performance, on May 11, 2002, the musical was shown on a large screen in Covent Garden.

    The musical is based on the poems of TS Elliot contained in the 1939 book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Production and music are by Andrew Lloyd Webber, while the direction is by Trevor Nunn. The scenography is curated by John Napier and the choreography by Gillian Lynne.

    The musical Cats won 8 Tony Awards and in 1981 the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. In 1998 Cats became available on VHS and DVD. Lloyd Webber produced the video and, directed by David Mallet, he wanted to create the feeling of being really in the theater with particular shots and different close-ups.

    Musical Cats: The Plot

    In the first act the group of cats enters the scene (Overture) and introduces themselves (Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats). Naming a cat is not easy and, according to TSElliot's poem, each cat has 3 names (The naming of cats).

    The invitation to the Jellicle Ball explains to viewers that during the annual ball one of Jellicle's cats will be chosen to go to Heaviside and be reborn to a new life. As every year, the Old Deuteronomy leader will announce which cat will have the privilege.

    The various cats apply to be the privileged ones (The Old Gumble Cat, The Rum Rum Tugger, Grizabella, Bustopher Jones, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, Old Deuteronomy, The aweful Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles together with The Marching song of the Pollicle Dogs), even if among these Grizabella is seen with distrust by other cats because she has fallen from grace, dirty and bruised.

    The dance of cats (The Jellicle Ball / The Song of the Jellicle) triumphantly closes the first act, with a hint of the return of Grizabella (Grizabella The Glamor Cat) who sings a few sad notes of Memory.

    In the second act Old Deuteronomy sings The moments of Happiness followed by the presentation of other cats that tell their deeds (Gus: The theater Cat, Growltiger's last stand, Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat, Macavity, Mr. Mistoffelees). Finally Grizabella intervenes who tells the moving story of her singing the famous one Memory.

    Old Deuteronomy will choose Grizabella to go to Heaviside and be reborn. In Journey to Heaviside we see cats celebrating the chosen one being lifted onto a car tire and 'going up' towards Heaviside. The musical ends with The ad-dressing of Cats.

    Info on programming and tickets

    Please note:: Unfortunately, the programming of Cats on Broadway has been suspended since December 29, 2017. To check the possible return to the scene of this musical you can check the links below

    The musical Cats is staged at the Neil Simon Theater: you can buy tickets on the Viator website in Spanish by clicking on the link below

    Search for your tickets on Viator

    Alternatively, they can be purchased on the English Ticketnetwork platform. By comparing the two solutions you can choose the most convenient for you.

    Search for your tickets on Ticketnetwork

    Tickets to Broadway musicals sell out and are quite expensive, but there are a few ways to save a little. Here's how to get discounted Broadway tickets

    Where to sleep in the area

    If you want to look for a hotel solution near the Neil Simon Theater, I recommend you take a look at our article on where to sleep in New York and in particular the section dedicated to accommodation in Times Square and Broadway. For more general advice on staying overnight in the city, I refer you to our dedicated page:

    Our tips on accommodation in New York

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