Look for the home video version of Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1981 musical -- Broadway's longest running -- to prowl to vcrs in spring 1998.
Really Useful Group spokesperson Nicole Levine confirmed (Sept. 11) that Elaine Paige, who originated the role of Grizabella in 1981, will play that shunned but ultimately redeemed cat in the video release (which will be shot on film), singing the show's pop hit, "Memory." Lloyd Webber spokesperson Peter Brown added that Ken Page, Broadway's original Old Deuteronomy would repeat his role, but other cast members -- drawn from current and previous Cats alumni -- have yet to be announced.
Paige made her Broadway debut in Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard. Page appeared as The Lord in Randy Newman's Faust at La Jolla Playhouse.
Gillian Lynne, original choreographer, directs and choreographs here, with David Mallet directing the film itself. The Adelphi Theatre will be used, says Brown, "because it was dark, and we needed a theatre. Plus, Andrew owns it." The theatre has a proscenium arch stage.
Brown earlier denied reports in the New York Post (Aug. 5) that Webber was negotiating with PolyGram, which owns 30 percent of the Really Useful Company, to capture six of his musicals (including Aspects Of Love and Sunset Boulevard) on tape or film. He confirmed only the Cats filming. In other Webber news, Brown says "Andrew is happy with the Whistle rewrites," referring to a revised version of Whistle Down The Wind, which closed in Washington DC before its scheduled Broadway mounting this past spring. The show comes to London, June 1998. "I don't think there are any new songs," added Brown.
Also, although Warner Brothers would like to begin shooting on the Phantom Of The Opera film in 1998, still no director or star has been chosen.
No news either about reports that Evita may return to Broadway, bolstered by the attention given the Madonna-starred film. The Feb. 7 NY Times quoted Brown as saying the project could go up "in the not too distant future." Brown then told Playbill On-Line that the project is on the table but still very much in the idea stage, with "no timetable yet." That has not changed.
Lastly, Brown had "no comment" on the status of the sequel to Phantom Of The Opera except to say that Lloyd Webber has written songs for it.