Cats: The Musical To Get Unexpected Make Over; Andrew Lloyd Webber Might Have Gone Insane
Cats: The Musical is one of most popular Broadway musicals of all time. It opened in London in 1981, running for 21 years, and then another 18 years on Broadway. Many fans have fond memories of the characters and songs within the musical and were surprised when Andrew Lloyd Webber announces that he tweaked the various portions of the show to make it a bit more hip. Webber may have been hopped up on some bad Ice Tea with tainted Ice Cubes, but regardless, he has added rapping to the iconic musical.
Adding rap songs to Cats may destroy it faster than Kanye and Kim’s marriage, although it may make it more popular than ever before. Only time will tell.
Cats will return to London’s West End in December and will run for a total of twelve months with the new arrangement. The rapping additions will coincide with a change to Rum Tum Tugger’s character. Andrew Lloyd Webber feels that making the change to Rum Tum Tugger is a a perfect evolution of the character:
“I’ve come to the conclusion that… maybe Eliot was the inventor of rap. The thing about the Eliot verse is that you can tell he’s American. Nobody other than Eliot would have written ‘The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat,'”
Over the years there have been attempts to update movies and musicals to reflect the changing times. Some notable instances are Clueless (based on Jane Austin’s Emma), Bridget Jones’s Diary (based on Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice), Pretty Woman (based on Pygmalion), and The Lion King (based on Hamlet). Even Cats is based upon T.S. Elliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Many of the changes were quite drastic in comparison to their original bodies of work and each reached their own level of fame. The box office numbers and final reviews will tell whether Andrew Lloyd Webber made the right choice in making such a notable change to the original script.
This is not the first time that portions of Cats has been revamped. The song “Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer” was originally jazzier before being changed to a more upbeat version. “Growltiger’s Last Stand” was also updated to remove a racial slur from the lyrics.
Cats has survived each of the previous changes without suffering greatly and chances are it will survive the current changes as well. It could be worse, it could be completely remade like The Wizard of Oz was when The Wiz released.
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