Watch: Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS the Musical
- Deborah Chu
- 14 May 2020
Move over, Tom Hooper – the original Jellicle Ball takes centre stage in this week's The Shows Must Go On! selection
Since the lockdown began, composer and musical theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber has been streaming a work from his back catalogue for free every weekend, as part of his The Shows Must Go On! series. And arguably, there is no Webber musical quite so iconic – and so controversial – as his 1981 work Cats, which begins streaming over at The Shows Must Go On! YouTube channel on Fri 15 May at 7pm.
Loosely based on T. S. Eliot's 1939 poetry collection Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the musical follows a tribe of cats called the Jellicles. Every year, the Jellicles gather to make the 'Jellicle Choice', wherein one cat is selected to be reborn to a new life on the Heaviside Layer. Despite this rather bizarre premise, Cats became an international smash-hit, with the original London production winning the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, and the song 'Memory' is now widely considered one of the most popular songs from a musical in history. Cats also holds the record for one of the longest-running musical productions in both the West End and Broadway, having run for 21 and 18 years, respectively. The musical recently returned to public consciousness last year, with Tom Hooper's much-maligned live action adaptation. Happily, the version to stream this weekend will be the 1998 direct-to-video film of the musical, filmed at London's Adelphi Theatre and with Elaine Page reprising her role as Grizabella.
The show goes online for 24 hours in the UK, and 48 hours elsewhere from Fri 15 May at 7pm.