After 21 years, Cats took its final bow at the New London Theatre on May 11, where many of the original cast joined hands onstage to sing out the 8,950th showing. It was a moving evening, and the audience stood and applauded for nearly 20 minutes as 11-year-old Jessica Hill from south London was raised aloft by fellow cast members, as the final curtain fell on the show. Among the cast were Brian Blessed, who originally played Bustopher Jones; ballet dancer Wayne Sleep and Elaine Paige, who have both played leading roles. Taking the stage after "a very, very emotional evening," Lord Lloyd Webber said the musical, based on T. S. Eliot's poems, "will be now and forever." He added: "It will have another life and eight other lives."
Indeed, Cats may be no longer in London, but there is to be a nationwide tour in the spring of 2003.