Never mind the panned 2019 big-screen release. True feline fans know that the 1998 recording of CATS, featuring Elaine Paige reprising her role as Grizabella, is where's it's really at. And it's next up on Andrew Lloyd Webber's free lockdown line-up - though only for 24 hours.
The lockdown streaming schedule for Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s free-to-view YouTube Channel The Shows Must Go On will continue this Friday with a broadcast of his global blockbuster Cats. This film version of the stage musical was released straight to video in 1998/9, as opposed to the recent Hollywood feature film.
For 24 hours only in the UK (not the usual 48) from 7pm this Friday 15 May 2020, fans can watch the show for free – Friday evening/Saturday matinee viewing recommended.
Lloyd Webber‘s sung-through musical Cats, based on TS Eliot‘s 1939 poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, tells the story of a tribe of “Jellicle” cats who gather one night to decide which of them should ascend to the “Heavyside Layer” and a new life.
The blockbuster stage version, produced by Cameron Mackintosh and directed by Trevor Nunn, premiered at the West End’s New London Theatre (now renamed the Gillian Lynne Theatre after the show’s choreographer) in 1981 before transferring to Broadway in 1982 and other productions across the globe. 'Memory', sung by Grizabella in the show, became an instant worldwide hit.
This 1998 filmed version features Elaine Paige as Grizabella (reprising the role she created onstage after Judi Dench was injured during rehearsals), John Partridge as Rum Tum Tugger, Ken Page as Old Deuteronomy and Sir John Mills as Gus.
The Shows Must Go On YouTube channel provides musical theatre lovers with a West End and Broadway experience in their own homes, online for free during the coronavirus crisis while theatres around the world are dark. Alongside the full-length shows, clips of famous performances and behind-the-scenes footage are uploaded regularly to the channel.
Previous screenings have included Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (starring Donny Osmond), Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, Lloyd Webber’s 50th birthday concert at the Royal Albert Hall and By Jeeves. Further productions are to be announced.
Do you remember 'Memory'?
Elaine Paige created the role of Grizabella onstage and made the show's most-famous song her own.