Off to the show!

Tonight, my mother and I are going to see a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, “CATS”. It’s rather strange that it has taken us this long to see it since we are all great cat-lovers in this family. We’ve seen “Phantom” and “Les Mis” and a few other shows, but never “CATS”.

The show is of course Webber’s bringing to life the wondrous poems of T.S. Eliot from his collection, “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. Amazing it is, to me that the same man who wrote “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (see video in my adjacent sidebar) had such a whimsical side. If you have the chance sometime, read Eliot’s poetry in “Old Possum’s” – it is delightful, full of the most exciting rhymes and a grand old time is had by the reader (and the poet too, I suspect).

Here’s my favourite poem that was adapted for a song in Webber’s “CATS”. I love to sing this one at the top of my lungs (and the four cats chime in, of course).

Now. What to wear?

Mr. Mistoffelees

You ought to know Mr. Mistoffelees!
The Original Conjuring Cat –
(There can be no doubt about that).
Please listen to me and don’t scoff. All his
Inventions are off his own bat.
There’s no such Cat in the metropolis;
He holds all the patent monopolies
For performing surprising illusions
And creating eccentric confusions.
At prestidigitation
And at legerdemain
He’ll defy examination
And deceive you again.
The greatest magicians have something to learn
From Mr. Mistoffelees’ Conjuring Turn.
Away we go!
And we all say: OH!
Well I never!
Was there ever
A Cat so clever
As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees!

He is quiet and small, he is black
From his ears to the tip of his tail;
He can creep through the tiniest crack
He can walk on the narrowest rail.
He can pick any card from a pack,
He is equally cunning with dice;
He is always deceiving you into believing
That he’s only hunting for mice.
He can play any trick with a cork
Or a spoon and a bit of fish-paste;
If you look for a knife or a fork
And you think it is merely misplaced –
You have seen it one moment, and then it is gawn!
But you’ll find it next week lying out on the lawn.
And we all say: OH!
Well I never!
Was there ever
A Cat so clever
As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees!

His manner is vague and aloof,
You would think there was nobody shyer –
But his voice has been heard on the roof
When he was curled up by the fire.
and he’s sometimes been heard by the fire
When he was about on the roof –
(At least we all heard somebody who purred)
Which is incontestable proof
Of his singular magical powers:
And I have known the family to call
Him in from the garden for hours,
While he was asleep in the hall.
And not long ago this phenomenal Cat
Produced seven kittens right out of a hat!
And we all said: OH!
Well I never!
Did you ever
Know a Cat so clever
As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees!

T.S. Elliot


25 thoughts on “Off to the show!

  1. I've never seen a live show of Ctas but I did see the film woth Elaine Paige and Sir John Mills. I really enjoyed it.My favourite song is Elaine Paige sining Memories. Her voice is fantastic, she knocked spots off Madonna as Evita.Have a wonderful night out but not on the tiles I hope! You're with your Mum.


  2. Hi Ann – I'm glad I've enlightened you. I didn't know it either when the show first came out years ago, but have learned of it since.Winifred – I have the AL Webber Premiere Collections on dvd and I know Elaine Page's version. She does have a fantastic voice, I agree. (No tiles involved, I assure you!)MuseSwings – Which widget was that? (sounds like a tongue-twister!)Sandy – What a coincidence!Kat


  3. I have not seen it either but we have a cat painted on our wall named Jenny-Any-Dots from the show. I think my husband read the book and also has all of TS Elliot's books. Did you know he was from my town, St. Louis? I know you will have a great evening and you have to tell us about it!


  4. Kat – Enjoy Cats! I've seen it three times, and I love it each time. The costumes and movements of the cats are amazing, and I love the songs, including Mr. Mistoffelees! I love Memory, of course. I can't make it through that song without tears. T.S. Eliot has always been a favorite of mine, and I agree with you about Old Possum's Book and Prufrock! Just goes to show that people are complex and multi-dimensional.Enjoy with your mom.


  5. You are such an awesome daughter! I was finally able to drag my flu ridden self to the computer. I look forward to catching up on some great posts I've missed, but wanted to let you know that you were one of the three winners of the Karm_A-Thon. Sooo you get the custom photoshop creation of your choosing –with or without blicky- serious or not. Just let me know! 🙂


  6. Ooooh, I love “Cats”!! I saw it about 12 years ago, and would love to go again. I have so many favorite characters…Macavity, Old Deuteronomy, Mr. Mistoffelees. Corban and I recite “The Pekes and the Pollicles” together from T.S. Eliot's book. What a wonderfully fun post! (I missed you!)


  7. Hi PoetikatI love cats too. On my last visit to Montreal, a Canadian who is a cat lover as well, he gave me a book entitled, “All you need to Know About Cats”. After reading that book, I'm able to interpret all my cat's body language. It is so much fun. Her tail is like her mouth-piece too. The different angles of her tail do convey her thoughts, lol.I had much fun watching the cat video. Thank you for sharing it.CheersPaterika


  8. Oh,Kat! I went to see Cats in London in 1990 with a friend on the way to a conference. I shall never forget sinuous dancers who prowled and leapt and wiped their feline whiskers like the real thing! After we left the theatre, we danced (literally) through the London streets. Then I saw the production a few years ago here in Pretoria at the State Theater. Equally captivating. Yes, I agree, how did the author of 'McCavity the Mystery Cat' write 'The Wasteland'? I am pleased TS had some fun amidst the angst in his personal life and as expressed in other poems. The biography of his first wife, Vivienne, makes for harrowing reading. Don't know who I felt the most sympathy for: him or her. Thank you for the complimentary words on my little po-em! Coming from you, they are a special honour!


  9. I had a dream once that one of these characters from Cats was trying to wake me up by talking in my face!Hope you enjoyed the show. Looking forward to hearing all about it!


  10. Way behind again – Feeling a bit blue these days and I can't put my finger on it. It must be Old Man Winter. Even with the sun, I still feel down. Oh well, perhaps some blogging will lift my spirits.It looks like many of you have seen the show and loved it! After seeing it for myself, I can see why. It is so full of life and rhythm and colour and sound!I hope you all enjoy the next post that features one of my favourite parts of the show.Kat


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