Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats will return to Broadway this summer at the Neil Simon Theatre. Preview performances will begin on 14 July, with an official opening set for 2 August 2016.
When Cats opens, Lloyd Webber will, once again, have the rare distinction of having three musicals running simultaneously on Broadway: The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock – The Musical, and Cats .
Composed by Lloyd Webber and based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, 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 and 18 years.
The creative team for the new Broadway production includes: Mick Potter (sound design), Natasha Katz (lighting design), John Napier (scenic and costume design), choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, based on the original choreography and associate direction by Gillian Lynne, and direction by Trevor Nunn.
Co-producers The Shubert Organization and The Nederlander Organization issued a joint statement, saying: “In 1982, the arrival of Cats took Broadway by storm. The show went on to dazzle audiences at the Winter Garden for the next 18 years, becoming one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. We are delighted to join together to bring Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical back to Broadway.”
Since its world premiere, Cats has been presented in more than 30 countries, has been translated into 15 languages, and has been seen by over 73 million people worldwide. Originally directed by Trevor Nunn with choreography and associate direction by Gillian Lynne, scenic and costume design by John Napier, lighting design by David Hersey, and sound design by Martin Levan, Cats opened in the West End in 1981. The same creative team brought the musical to Broadway in 1982 where it won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Both the original London and Broadway cast recordings won Grammy Awards for Best Cast Album.
The hit song ‘Memory’ has been recorded by over 150 artists from Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis to Liberace and Barry Manilow. The Tony Award-winning Best Musical held the title of longest-running musical in Broadway history until it was surpassed in 2006 by Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. The original Broadway production closed on 10 September, 2000 and is currently the fourth longest-running show in Broadway history. This marks the first New York revival of the musical.
Cats returned to the West End for limited Christmas runs in both 2014 and 2015, with actresses Nicole Scherzinger, Kerry Ellis, Madalena Alberto and Beverley Knight playing Grizabella. A 2015 summer season production in Blackpool starred Jane McDonald.