Andrew Lloyd Webber or some company of his has been posting videos of full productions of his musicals on YouTube during The Pandemic. They have two goals, it would appear, one being to cheer up people who are stuck at home during a time when there is no theater. That's a fine goal. The other is to raise money for The Actors Fund, which is also a fine goal, though I'd like to think that the richest man to ever work in live theater is also sending them Phantom-of-the-Opera-sized checks.
Each musical posted is only available for online viewing for a limited amount of time. A year ago this week, it was this version of Cats, which is not the recent movie. It's a filming done in 1988 of the production that ran slightly less than forever at the New London Theatre on Drury Lane. It has Elaine Paige, Sir John Mills and other fine performers in its cast and it's about as good a presentation of this show as you'll ever see.
I find myself often defending Cats even though I'm not a huge fan of the musical. But I don't hate it as some folks do and I certainly don't do what some do and call it an affront to mankind and decency akin to The Holocaust, only with tails and slightly worse songs. Some people were that way about it before it even debuted, insisting that a show that dressed actors up like felines could not possibly have any merit whatsoever.
I remember smug articles in theater-fanzines of the day predicting a failure of massive proportions and then, lo and behold, it went on to become at one point the longest-running Broadway show in history. It's still at #4, behind The Lion King, though it'll probably soon be overtaken by Wicked, which is reopening shortly. And some who predicted the failure of Cats are still refusing to believe anyone ever liked it. They sound like Trump supporters insisting nobody voted for Joe Biden.
If you think the whole notion of actors in cat costumes is an abysmal concept, don't go see it. I know a few people who I think did just so they could say, "Yeah, I went to see it so I could see if it was as horrible as I knew it would be and I was right." That's like saying, "Yeah, I jumped off the roof just to see if I'd break my leg as I knew I would and I was right."
But if you're curious about the show or saw it and would like to see it once more, it's online again for a week, minus the few hours since Sir Andrew or his minions put it up. Tell Mr. Mistoffelees and Rum Tum Tugger I sent you…