Cats

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CatsMusicalLogo.jpg

There's a man over there with a look of surprise.
As much as to say well now how about that?
Do I actually see with my own very eyes,
A man who's not heard of a jellicle cat?

What's a jellicle cat? What's a jellicle cat?
—From the opening number, "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats."

Andrew Lloyd Webber's other most famous musical. It's a show about Cats. More precisely, it's about a tribe of Cats, the Jellicle Cats, and the once-a-year event where the Jellicle Leader, Old Deuteronomy announces the cat who can now be reborn and come back in a different Jellicle Life, after the cats spend time introducing themselves, and their fellow cats, through song. It's based, pretty much, on T. S. Eliot's book of poems Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

A film was in production eons ago, but it never got off the ground. A video version of the stage musical was released in 1998.

Tropes used in Cats include:
  • Adaptation Expansion: "What's a jellicle cat", indeed. Mr. Eliot's poems make perfectly and explicitly clear what a jellicle cat is: it is, very specifically, a small black-and-white cat. No more, no less, and nothing else.
    • A whole stage of only black-and-white cats wouldn't be much to look at (or it might... I mean, it's people dressed head to toe as cats). Not that that whole book of poems is about only black-and-white cats. To be fair, there are quite a few black and white cats in the show.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Cats don't really like Grizabella.
  • All There in the Script: Anything pertaining to Griddlebone, save her few lines in Macavity's Villain Song.
  • All Witches Have Cats: A couplet in the "Prologue: Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" goes "Can you ride on a broomstick, to places far distant?/Familiar with candle, with book and with bell?" and refers to cats being traditionally associated with witches, demons and magic.
  • Amusement Park: The Swedish version takes place in one closed down for the winter.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Macavity has broken every human law, disappears from every crime scene, and the Villain Song takes place directly after he's kidnapped the tribe leader. Oh, and he cheats at cards.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Grizabella.
  • Big Eater: Bustopher Jones, "a twenty-five pounder" who's "putting on weight every day". An entire section of his song is him listing all pubs and restaurants he goes to in a day.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Jellicles, after their opening number, notice the audience's presence.
  • Brian Blessed: The original actor for Bustopher Jones, Gus and Growltiger.
  • Butt Monkey: Pouncival and Tumblebrutus in the video, though the former more than the latter.
  • Cat Concerto: Basically the whole show. There's even a boot thrown at the singing cats!
  • Catgirl: All female Jellicles, by default.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted, although Macavity is a jerk of the first magnitude and everyone assumes this about Grizabella. Cats, however, are ultimately not that different from people, according to the final number.
  • Composite Character: Inverted in the video production: the role of Gus, who's seen as both a young cat and an old cat on stage became two separate Cats, Asparagus (young) and Gus (old). On stage, Gus recalls his playing Growltiger, while both are separate cats in T.S. Eliot's text. This is because the actor playing Gus, the late, great John Mills, was in his nineties at the time of filming and was simply incapable of dancing the part of young Asparagus.
  • Cool Cat: The entire cast.
  • Dances and Balls: The Jellicle Ball.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Munkustrap has his moments, particularly while directing the Rumpus Cat.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity.
    • He's basically the feline version of Professor James Moriarty.

And they say that all the cats
Whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie,
I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents
For the cat who all the time
Controls their operations
The Napoleon of Crime!

      • Compare:

Macavity's a ginger cat,
He's very tall and thin.
You would know him if you saw him,
For his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought,
His head is highly domed,
His coat is dusty from neglect,
His whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side,
With movements like a snake.
And when you think he's half asleep,
He's always wide awake!

      • With:

He is extremely tall and thin, his forehead domes out in a white curve, and his two eyes are deeply sunken in this head. He is clean-shaven, pale, and ascetic-looking, retaining something of the professor in his features. His shoulders are rounded from much study, and his face protrudes forward, and is forever slowly oscillating from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion.

  • Distracted by the Sexy: The Rum-Tum-Tugger's butt-shake apparently has a hypnotic effect on female cats, considering that he usually has a gaggle of them staring at it.
    • Not to mention the fascination with Bombalurina and Demeter's crotches the cameraman suddenly has when they're singing "Macavity".
    • Don't you mean whenever Bombalurina is within view and facing away from the camera.
  • Epic Song: "Memory", also The Eleven O'Clock Number.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Rum Tum Tugger does a bagpipe solo during "The Awefull Battle of The Pekes and the Pollicles". It gets funny when he does it during Munkustrap's dance with Rumpuscat.
  • Evil Laugh: Macavity.
  • Fantastic Racism: Growltiger hates Persian and Siamese cats.
  • Faux Paw
  • Formally-Named Pet: The magical Mr. Mistoffelees (the only one of all the cats in the musical to be named that way).
  • Funny Background Event: Watch closely and you see some pretty surprising stuff...
  • Furry Fandom: What would expect from a show about dancing, anthromorphic cats?
  • "I Am" Song: Mainly, it's a show of You Are Songs.
  • The Ingenue: Jemima, the only other cat besides Victoria, who tries to accept Grizabella.
  • I Was Quite a Looker/Princess in Rags/White Dwarf Starlet: All three apply to Grizabella.
  • Karma Houdini: Macavity has "broken every human law", terrorized the Jellicles, and kidnapped Old Deuteronomy. He never pays for any of his crimes in the course of the musical, and his theme song suggests that he never has.
    • Though Demeter and Bombalurina seem to use the Macavity song as a warning to the younger kittens, and Demeter pretty much kicks his ass when he shows up disguised as Old Deuteronomy (well, initially, anyway).
  • Karmic Death: Growltiger.
  • Les Yay: Deme and Bomba, anyone? Though this leads right into Squick territory if you consider them sisters or not.
  • Long Title: "Of The Awefull Battle of The Pekes and the Pollicles, Together With Some Account of Participation of the Pugs and the Poms and the Intervention of the Great Rumpuscat".
  • Meaningful Name: The main point of the opening poem. The name is secret though....
  • Mega Neko: Naturally.
  • Melancholy Moon: Just turn your face to the moon, Grizabella...
  • Mood Whiplash: The rock'n'rollin' "The Rum Tum Tugger" is followed by the somber "Grizabella: The Glamour Cat", and that is followed by the peppy "Bustopher Jones: The Cat About Town".
    • In fact, the musical score hangs a lampshade on this fact at the opening of "Bustopher Jones" with notes about how to play the piece: "A little hesistantly, as though the orchestra is changing the subject."
    • Another example lies with "Gus: The Theatre Cat". After the extremely sad ending to the song, the music immediately changes to the happy, fun "Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat".
  • Mr. Fanservice: Rum Tum Tugger is quite the lady's cat.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: During the opening number, someone drops a boot during the song; afterwards, the Jellicles pick up where they left off.
  • Noodle Incident: Gus' grandest role, Firefrorefiddle the Fiend of the Fell
  • One-Scene Wonder: Bustopher Jones, Gus and Macavity.
  • Only Sane Man: Doubly present in the "The Pekes and the Pollicles" segment. First, the Rumpus Cat is the only one animal not barking insanely at all the others. Secondly, Munkustrap, being the narrator, and Deuteronomy, who is listening to the story, are the only cats who aren't dressed up in an absolutely ridiculous getup ON TOP of the the cat costumes.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Demeter's accent when she says 'Macavity!' varies between French and American, and it's all over the place during the Villain Song. YMMV on this one, but it can be considered a bit of an enhancement to the song, given how nice her voice sounds in the first place.
    • Rumpleteazer's voice as a chorus cat and in the introduction completely drops the cockney accent she bears in her own song. This aided people thinking she was dubbed, though her vocal credit was only for dubbed giggles.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer brag in their song about how they broke one of these (and probably others like it).
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad/Those Two Guys/Harmless Villain: Mungojerie and Rumpelteazer, who sure don't act like devoted servants of Macavity.
  • Show Within a Show: "The Pekes and the Pollicles" and "Gus: The Theatre Cat".
  • Stairway to Heaven: Or, more precisely, a tire to heaven. Other versions have their own version, including a ferris wheel gondola in the Swedish version.
  • Villain Song: "Mungojerie and Rumpelteazer". Subverted for the reasons above.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Macavity: The Mystery Cat". It would be a Villain Song if he himself had sung it.
  • The Voiceless: Macavity. He gives a few villainous laughs, but he never joins the Jellicles in song.
  • Walk the Plank: Growltiger's final fate.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Jemima. It's stated on That Other Wiki that when her character is cast, they choose actresses with large eyes for that big-eyed, innocent look.
    • Considering the first person in that role was Sarah Brightman, the bar for big eyes must have been set pretty high afterward.
  • Woman in White: Victoria the kitten, the first cat to accept Grizabella.