After more than a year of anticipation, trailer releases, and talk show frenzy, Tom Hooper's film adaptation of Cats is set to arrive in theatres December 20. In honor of the movie's release, Playbill looks back at Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic musical onstage.
The Winter Garden Theatre celebrated the opening of what would become one of the most successful musicals in the history of Broadway, Cats, on October 7, 1982. Webber's adaptation of the T.S. Eliot collection of poems, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, boasted advance sales of $6.2 million before it even opened. The show had dance, special effects, no dialogue, and a diva in the making: Betty Buckley, singing its most memorable tune, "Memory."
Cats won seven Tony Awards and played in more than 250 cities around the world. By the time it closed on September 10, 2000, Cats had played 7,485 performances on Broadway, far outpacing previous long-run champ A Chorus Line.
Celebrate Over 35 Years of Jellicle Cats on Broadway
The movie stars Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Taylor Swift as Bombalurina, Francesca Hayward as Victoria, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Robbie Fairchild as Munkustrap, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots, Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger, Laurie Davidson as Mr. Mistoffelees, James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Idris Elba as Macavity, and Ian McKellen as Gus.
Cats features choreography by Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton), having previously worked on the 2016 Broadway revival. The soundtrack, which includes Andrew Lloyd Webber and Swift’s Golden Globe-nominated “Beautiful Ghosts,” is also out December 20.