«They were just people dressed as cats, in a gigantic dump.» This was justified by Maxwell Sheffield when he tried to explain why he had rejected the production of «Cats», in some other episode of «The Nanny» (The Nanny, 1993-1999). In this way, and thanks to the resounding success of this strange musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber would become the greatest nemesis of this theatrical impresario. The CBS sitcom was not the first, or the last, to mock this London outset, otherwise check out «Team America: World Police» (Team America: World Police, 2004), «Saturday Night Live,» «Family Guy,» «The Simpsons» and «BoJack Horseman,» as if to name a few. Still, we assume they do so in envy, as this adaptation of the poems in T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats is one of the most successful musicals of all time, with several records to his credit.
Anthropomorphic mininos on stage
The original staging premiered in London’s West End in 1981, and a year later made its arrival on Broadway. Since then, it has amassed mountains of awards – including Laurence Olivier and Tony – and became one of the most permanistled musicals on both stages: 21 years in the UK (until 2002) and 18 years in New York (until 2000). Although his main contribution, besides the artistic, was to transform into the spearhead of the massification of this medium. But going back nearly forty years ago, Webber’s idea of «putting music to Eliot’s poems» was destined to fail, much more, after rejections by investors, critical mistakes and a disastrous opening night. Although after these first obstacles, Sir Andrew’s play began to work its magic and connected with the audience as soon as the feline-clad actors began to roam the stage. According to his staunchest defenders: «The greatest legacy of ‘Cats’ was to create a new theatrical audience, eager for the new mix of populism and innovation, which had been rejected by the elitism of British theatre.»
«Cats» revolves around the tribe of The Jelicic Cats during the night when ‘the jelical choice’ is made, that is, where they decide which of them will be reborn into a new existence. If you want to see a recreation of the theatrical staging, you can resort to the edition that was released directly to video in 1998; but now comes to the big screen in all its gatuno splendor by Tom Hooper, Oscar-winning director for «The King’s Speech», also responsible for the latest version of «Les Misérables» (Les Misérables, 2012) with Hugh Jackman.Hooper it is not zonzo and knows that this is a difficult proposal to sell, so it is surrounded by a large cast led by Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Francesca Hayward, Judi Dench, James Corden, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, Rebel Wilson and Ray Winstone, among many others. The first advance of the film had mixed reactions – perhaps, by the use of motion capture instead of the characteristic theatrical makeup – but at the end of the day the essence is the same: «A simple group of people dressed as cats, in a gigantic dumpster.»
Cat for hare
«Cats attracted a large number of people to the theatre who would not otherwise have come, and broke all barriers. Even the stage separated from the traditional, to make it more accessible and less formal.» This statement by Raymond Gubbay, a producer accustomed to hits, makes it clear that Webber’s work is a before and after for musical art, and for those like «Hamilton» that would otherwise never have been encouraged to play with established forms. In this note: