The 2016 revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats may have announced its closing, but audiences still have ample opportunities to see the production on Broadway and its subsequent national tour.
The iconic musical, based on T.S. Eliot’s collection of poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, will play its final performance at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre on Saturday, December 30, 2017, shuttering after 593 performances. After a year’s hiatus, a new cast will tour with the production, commencing in January of 2019 at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Additional cities will include Chicago, Durham, and Los Angeles, with a full tour schedule and other information to be announced later.
The creative team for the new Broadway production of Cats includes John Napier (Scenic & Costume Design), Natasha Katz (Lighting Design), Mick Potter (Sound Design), choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (Tony-winner for Bandstand), based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne, and direction by Trevor Nunn. Napier and Nunn both performed the same duties on the original Broadway production.
The current cast of Cats includes, Ahmad Simmons as “Alonzo,” Tyler Hanes as “Rum Tum Tugger,” Christine Cornish Smith as “Bombalurina,” Jakob Karr as “Carbuckety,” Emily Pynenburg as “Cassandra,” Ron Todorowski as “Coricopat,” Kim Fauré as “Demeter,” Lili Froehlich as “Electra,” Mamie Parris as “Grizabella,” Sarah Jane Shanks as “Jellylorum,” Eloise Kropp as “Jennyanydots,” Ricky Ubeda as “Mistoffelees,” Zachary Daniel Jones as “Mungojerrie,” Andy Huntington Jones as “Munkustrap,” Christopher Gurr as “Gus / Bustopher Jones,” Daniel Gaymon as “Macavity,” Sharrod Williams as “Pouncival,” Haley Fish as “Rumpelteazer,” Jessica Cohen as “Sillabub,” Aaron J. Albano as “Skimbleshanks,” Emily Tate as “Tantomile,” Andrew Wilson as “Tumblebrutus,” Quentin Earl Darrington as “Old Deuteronomy,” Claire Rathbun as “Victoria,” along with Richard Todd Adams, Jessica Hendy, Madison Mitchell, Nathan Patrick Morgan, Megan Ort, Corey John Snide, Callan Bergmann, Maria Briggs, Francesca Granell, Harris Milgrim, Jonalyn Saxer and Tanner Ray Wilson.
Cats originated in London where it opened in 1981 starring Elaine Paige. The original Broadway production opened in 1982 at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre (currently home to Lloyd Webber’s newest hit, School of Rock – The Musical), where it ran for 7,485 performances (18 years). The original cast boasted many Broadway favorites including Betty Buckley, Terrence Mann, and Ken Page (Buckley won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Grizabella, the Faded Glamour Cat). The musical won a total of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The song “Memory” became the show’s breakout hit, recorded by such talents as Barry Manilow and Barbra Streisand. For almost two-decades, the musical and its billboard of piercing amber cat eyes, were synonymous with the Big Apple itself, a must-see requirement for every tourist and theatre enthusiast. The 2016 revival which opened on July 31, reignited the Cats phenomenon and brought the beloved piece to whole new generation of theatregoers.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.