CATS as Mythic Tale
So what's so great about CATS anyway? Sure it has TS Eliot's very clever characters and
Andrew Lloyd Webber's intoxicating music and John Napier's splendiforous costumes & sets
and Gillian Lynne's brilliant choreography. But I think there's another reason that CATS
has become a classic, a worldwide phenom, a theatrical institution, the now-and-forever
musical. Not to get too heavy here, but CATS is also a modern mythic tale, right out of our
universal unconscious, like James Joyce's Ulysses and Herman Hesse's Siddhartha.
As the Rum Tum Tugger said of the
magical Mr. M's conjuring talents... don't scoff ! Star Wars has its mythic elements,
as does Star Trek and Neil Gaiman's Sandman tales. And CATS.
This show has everything needed to stir the imagination and satisfy the soul.
It's Victoria's coming-of-age story. It's good vs evil as the magician of the Light
(Mistoffelees) rescues the father figure/tribal chief (Old Deuteronomy) from the mysterous
forces of Darkness (Macavity). It's Grizabella's search for redemption and transformation.
It's a once-a-year ritual in which the ordinary world is transcended and a new life...
perhaps even immortality... is possible.
A story doesn't get more mythic than this. Even though it's going to be
closing on Broadway in June and there are rumors flying of it closing in London and other major cities as well,
I've also heard that a new US tour is beginning this fall. It's hard to imagine a world without
Cats playing somewhere!
It will surely live on forever in the
hearts and minds of all who've experienced it.
Jellicle Cats meet once a year
At the Jellicle Ball where we all rejoice!
And the Jellicle Leader will soon appear
And make what is known as the Jellicle Choice.
When Old Deuteronomy just before dawn
Through a silence you feel you could cut with a knife
Announces the Cat who can now be reborn
And come back to a different Jellicle Life.
I can go on about this stuff forever, so this is a work in progress :-)
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Some photos on this site scanned from CATS: The Book of the Musical
Cats the musical & cast photos copyright The Really Useful Group Ltd.
Musical score by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Lyrics based on
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, additional words by Trevor Nunn & Richard Stilgoe
Rhapsody on a Windy Night written by T.S. Eliot
Meditative Cat graphics & all text descriptions copyright 2000-2006 Catresea Ann Canivan