Cats Turns 41 Today: 10 Things You Never Knew About The Show

The iconic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats celebrates its 41st anniversary today – and what better way is there to celebrate than to take a trip down ‘memory’ lane?

From its first paw-formance to today’s meow-vellous productions, here’s 10 things you never knew about Cats!

  1. Opening in 1981, Cats has been seen in 39 countries and translated into 15 languages.
  2. Memory is inspired by a half-finished, eight-line poem entitled Grizabella, the Glamour Cat that T.S. Eliot saw as too melancholy for children. It was omitted from the final version of T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, but was merged with another Eliot poem to create the foundation for Memory.
  3. Valerie Eliot, T.S. Eliot’s widow, told Andrew that ‘Pollicle’ and ‘Jellicle’ originated from Eliot’s private joke about how the British upper class slurred the words ‘poor little dogs’ and ‘dear little cats’. 
  4. Andrew struggled to find investors for Cats, as many thought that a musical about cats was ridiculous. In the end, he believed in the musical so much that he took out a second mortgage to finance the show. 
  5. The London production of Cats ran for 21 years (8,949 performances) and Broadway for 18 years (7,485 performances). This made Cats the longest-running musical in both theatre districts for many years. 
  6. The title was changed during the designing of the logo. Designed by Russ Eglin, the iconic piece of advertising featured the then-title Practical Cats, but it was agreed that the title messed with the image, and it was changed to Cats
  7. Film legend Judi Dench was originally supposed to star in the show’s opening in 1981 as Grizabella and Jennyanydots, but sadly tore her achilles tendon a week before the show’s debut. 
  8. After Judi’s injury, Andrew called upon Elaine Paige to step in. Elaine had heard Gary Moore’s Memory on Radio 2 previously, and felt as though the melody was destined for her. As she was called, a cat actually jumped on her window.
  9. Cats has received 7 Tonys, 2 Oliviers and 1 Grammy, and has taken $3.5 billion at the box office worldwide, having been attended by over 74 million people.
  10. The musical is currently performing around the world, including an International Tour and a North American Tour, as well as in Japan and Vienna.

Listen To Cats

To celebrate the musical that shaped a generation and changed the world of musical theatre forever, join us by listening to the incomparable music from this iconic show.

Listen here:

Experience Cats Live In A City Near You!

If you want to experience the magic of Cats, here are the current productions across the globe and information about tickets: