In case you missed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical Cats on Broadway, you’re in luck! Not only will the Neil Simon Theatre be putting on a series of revival performances this summer, but Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper will also be bringing a feature adaptation of the musical to the big screen. The project, which Hooper will also produce, is in the process of jelling at Universal Pictures and Working Title.
The Wrap reports that Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce for Working Title along with Debra Hayward; original musical producer Cameron Mackintosh is also expected to be onboard the project as a producer. His involvement with the Cats musical movie would be a reunion of sorts for Mackintosh, Hooper, Universal Pictures and Working Title, a team which last collaborated on the 2012 musical Les Misérables, which took home three Oscars.
Cats was originally based on the T.S. Eliot poetry collection “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” The theatrical adaptation first burst onto the scene in 1981 and became the longest-running Broadway show in history until it was surpassed by The Phantom of the Opera in 2006. It’s currently the fourth-longest-running show in Broadway history. A made-for-TV movie was produced in 1998, but Hooper’s version would be the first time the show will be adapted for the big screen.
One of many questions that remain is just how that adaptation will come about. The report suggests that Hooper and his creative team are currently deciding whether to use traditional actors, computer-generated characters, or a combination of the two, which worked quite well for Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book adaptation. Purists of the original musical would probably like to see a traditional performance with actors in practical costumes, but the chance to bring the stage’s story to life on the big screen means that CG-effects could heighten the experience.
Here’s the musical’s official synopsis, courtesy of the show’s website:
Based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the show is set amongst a larger- than-life junkyard playground and is alive with our favourite feline characters including Rum Tum Tugger, Mr. Mistoffelees, Macavity, Jennyanydots, Old Deuteronomy, Grizabella and Skimbleshanks.
The Jellicle Cats come out to play on one special night of the year – the night of the Jellicle Ball. One by one they tell their stories for the amusement of Old Deuteronomy, their wise and benevolent leader, who must choose one of the Cats to ascend to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life.