“People like to put you into a box. I'm afraid I don't sit in a box.” — Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tony Award-Winning Musical Composer
After 7,485 performances over nearly two decades, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award-winning musical “Cats" ended production on this day 19 years ago as Broadway’s longest-running musical. Based on T. S. Eliot's 1939 poetry book “Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats”, Webber’s loose adaptation follows a tribe of cats performed by actors in fully-fledged feline costumes, an atypical choice that gave “Cats” a wholly unique aesthetic unlike anything else on Broadway. For better or worse, “Cats” is credited with starting the “megamusical” trend that has completely transformed Broadway and London’s West End, where big-budget musicals dominate in order to bring in tourists and family-friendly audiences. Having grossed more than $3.5 billion since its premiere in 1981, “Cats” is one of Broadway’s most enduring properties — a blockbuster feature-film adaptation starring Taylor Swift is slated for later this year.