|Creator:||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Date(s):||1981 (West End), 1998 (TV film)|
|Country of Origin:||England|
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Cats is an extremely popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. For better or for worse, it is one of the first megamusical productions and is considered a staple of the musical theater repertoire that has been produced in over 30 countries and 15 languages. The original West End production ran for 21 years and the original Broadway production ran for 18 years. Since those productions, Cats has been produced by smaller local theater companies, revived for new productions, and parodied in pop culture. Some fans have seen the show live in its many years on Broadway or the West End, while others have encountered it through the 1998 filmed production.
In 2016, it was announced that Tom Hooper (known for directing the 2012 Les Miserables movie) would be directing a Cats movie. The movie is set to release in December 2019 and stars Taylor Swift, among others.
Like many musical fandoms, "canon" is a slightly fluid concept given that there can be significant changes between stagings of a show. The 1998 Adelphi Theatre filming of Cats, for example, cuts Growltiger's Last Stand and changed or altered many lyrics while the trailer for the 2019 film appears to have introduced a romance between Mr. Mistoffelees and Victoria. There are also regional variants of Cats, with the Japanese Shiki Theatre Company production possibly being the most different from any other version. It features specifically redesigned costumes, a character that's unique to the Japanese production, and the change from Rumpus Cat being a relatively minor character to a ensemble character.
The net effect that this fluid canon has on fanworks is usually that the ensemble will be filled out with whoever the author believes to be the "minor" characters in Cats, which can vary based on production.
While the show has a fandom of its own, it is notable for being a case such as Shrek where memes are sometimes more prevalent than sincere fannish content. In particular, people often joke about Cats not having a particularly complex plot or much of a plot at all:
If you're unfamiliar, here's a synopsis of CATS
-We're cats-CATS!- @TheAliciaKraft on Twitter
-Cats cats cats, that's us
-This one's lazy
-This one FUCKS
-One's a fallen woman??
-Evil cat who also FUCKS
-This one likes trains
-A wizard cat!
-Slut cat sings so good she dies, but it's cool
Links & Resources
- US Cats The Musical Tour Website. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- List of the longest-running West End shows on Wikipedia. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- List of the longest-running Broadway shows on Wikipedia. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- Tom Hooper to milk Cats musical for movie version. Posted 6 May 2016. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- 'Cats' Movie Adaptation Sets December 2019 Release Date. Posted 31 Aug 2019. Accessed 20 Sept 2019.
- COVER STORY; Broadway's 'Cats': Restaged for Eternity (And We Thought They Were Kidding!). Posted 1 Nov 1998. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- CATS - Official Trailer [HD]. Posted 18 July 2019. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- Cats Is Still Big, Weird, and Furry in Japan. Posted 30 July 2019. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.