Gareth Mason © 2019

  • Gareth Mason You Tube Channel
  • Gareth Mason Official Facebook
  • Gareth Mason on Twitter

Interesting Facts about the Musical 'Cats'

  • Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – on which the musical Cats is based – was written by T S Eliot during the 1930s and first published in 1939 by Faber and Faber. Although Eliot generally intended his cat poems to be for children, they were also appealing to adults.

  • The original production opened at the New London Theatre, in the West End on May 11 1981. Eight years later it celebrated its first important milestone: after 3,358 performances, Cats became the longest running musical in the history of the British theatre.

  • On 29 January 1996 the London production of Cats celebrated its 6,141st performance and became the longest running musical in the history of West End theatre.

  • Cats closed in London in 2002, the same year it celebrated its 21st birthday having notched up a staggering 8,950 performances.

  • Cats opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 7, 1982, and continued to live up to its motto of playing ‘Now and Forever’ until September 10 2000. On June 19 1997 the show became the longest running musical on Broadway until January 9 2006 when it was overtaken by The Phantom of the Opera.

  • Since its opening, Cats has been presented in 26 countries and more than 300 cities, including such diverse destinations as Buenos Aires, Seoul, Helsinki and Singapore. Within two-and-half-years of the London opening there were productions in New York, Tokyo, Budapest and Vienna, and the first of US touring productions had hit the road.

  • Cats has been translated into ten languages: Japanese, German, (three versions for Germany, Austria and Switzerland), Hungarian, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish, French, Spanish (two versions for Mexico and Argentina) and Italian. The Swiss production required a bilingual cast who performed in German and English on alternate nights.

  • Despite its international appeal, the title of the show has rarely been translated – the Mexican producers did a survey as to whether their audience would like their production to be called Gatos – the response in favour of keeping the English original was unanimous.

  • On October 1, 1991, Cats became the longest, continuously touring show in American theatre history.

  • The show requires eight 40-foot trucks to move it from theatre to theatre, transporting the sets, musical instruments, and sound and lighting systems, together with hundreds of costumes and wigs and more than 100 lamps for the lighting rig. A team of more than 70 people will work around the clock to ensure the show is ready for the opening night.

  • Memory has been recorded by more than 150 artists ranging from Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis to Liberace. Barry Manilow’s rendition was a top-40 hit in the US and a techno/dance version by European singer Natalie Grant topped the European dance charts in 1999.

  • The original London cast recording of Cats won the 1982 Grammy Award for Best Cast Album. The next year the original Broadway cast recording won the same award.