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Cats the Musical was based off of T.S. Elliot’s Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Each cat in the play is based off of different cats in the book such as Jennyanydots, Macavity, Gus (short for Asparagus), etc. Another inspiration from the book was the idea that cats have three different names one common, one fancy, and one only the cat knows. The play relates a tribe of cats on the night of the Jellicle choice where one cat will be chosen to the Heavyside layer to have the chance at a new life. The musical then shows different cats proposed for the Jellicle choice.
It’s said throughout his career people would ask T.S. Elliot “What will you read to your kids?” because he was known for his darker works such as “The Waste Land” and “The Hollow Men”. In response, Elliot wrote the Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats to prove that he could write children stories.
The musical was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and choreographed by Gillian Lynne and it is the fourth longest ongoing musical on Broadway. One of the most notable songs is Grizabella the Glamor Cat’s "Memory", with multiple covers from the original. The original Broadway cast starred Betty Buckley as Grizabella and Ken Page as Old Deuteronomy.
Link to Old Possum’s book of Practical Cats
BY: Emily Johnson