cats

On the 10th of January 2004 the Roma Musical Theater presented the Polish premiere of the musical Cats

This incredible production by Andrew Lloyd Webber (he composed the music for Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Starlight Express, Requiem, The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, and Whistle Down the Wind) was based on Thomas Stearns Eliot´s poems about cats from The Old Possum´s Book of Practical Cats. The world premiere took place in London in 1981. The New London Theater where it was staged had been rebuilt especially for the needs of this musical to recreate the magical world of cats where all the surroundings are three times bigger than in reality. It is not only the set design and the wonderful music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (known all around the world for his music hit - Memory) which are undeniable values of this spectacle but it is also the amazing dancing which makes it so fabulous. Cats is not just a fairy tale, it shows an infinite variety of human characteristics. They are sketched in the most intense and amusing way, which makes the viewer, whether he is 5 or 105 years old, able to identify with them and be taken in by their spell. The viewers also take part in a very intelligent deliberation about aspects of life and, in particular participate in philosophical notions of life and change. The wisdom of T.S.Elliot´s poetry is a pretext to the presentation of a fantastic show - the biggest success in the history of musicals. All those elements were part of the unbelievable success of this mystical spectacle, considered by critics as a universal triumph.

During the 20 years of the staging of Cats, from New York through to Helsinki and many other cities all over the world, this spectacle has entered the hearts and minds of all nations and people of every age. The place of Cats in theater history is absolutely unquestionable.
The Roma Musical Theater is the only theater in the world which owns copyrights to stage its very own version (non-replica production) of Andrew Lloyd Webber´s musical. Only the music remained originally the same as T.S.Eliot´s poems translated by Daniel Wyszogrodzki. This is a wonderful spectacle designed for all generations.

As a part of the preparations for the premiere certain events have taken place:

    * Multistage castings during which we saw over 1000 candidates
    * Among all the people who participated in casting we chose 40 of them for whom the Roma Musical Theater arranged vocal/dancing/choreographical workshops in Bielsko Biala´s house of culture. 40 chosen artists took part in the following:

      director´s lectures - Wojciech Kepczynski

      acting - Anna Seniuk

      vocal - M. Pawlowski ( music supervisor), Patrycja Bachora

      choreographical lectures - Damian Kacperski ( dancer - Meffistofellis and Mungojerrie in original version of Cats staged inHamburg), Jacek Badurek, Iwona Runowska, Micha³ Piróg

      pantomime - Artur Borkowski

      elocution - Alicja Malinowska

      dr. Barbara Rudnicka-Brzezny - vet ,expert in cat behaviour

The spectacle stars:

As Grizabella: The Glamour Cat -  Izabela Zajac/Joanna Wegrzynowska/Daria Druzgala
Nestor - Zbigniew Macias/Andrzej Kostrzewski/Robert Dymowski
Munkustrap - Damian Aleksander/Tomasz Wiecek/Michala Norkowski
Rum Tum Tigger - Jakub Szydlowski/ Pawel Podgórski
Gus/ Growltiger - Tomasz Steciuk/ Wojciech Paszkowski
Jellylorum - Anna Sztejner/Marta Smuk
Griddlebone - Iza Bujniewicz/Marta Smuk
Demeter - Ewa Lachowicz
Bombalurina - Patrycja Wódz/Elæbieta Portka/Anna Sztejner
Jemima - Ewa Wlazlowska
Rumpleteazer - Magdalena Gruziel/ Monika Rowińska
Mungojerrie - Pawel Strymiński/Bartosz Figurski
Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat - Wojciech Dmochowski/ Wojciech Socha
Meffistofelis - Krzysztof Swaczyna/Patryk Gladys/JAkub Jó¼wiak
Macavity - Grzegorz Suski/Piotr Nawrocki/Dariusz Wiórkiewicz

And Theater´s ensemble

Bre Bank SA is a main sponsor of the spectacle "Cats", list of other sponsors is listed in donors

A.L.Webber´s inspiration.

"I began setting Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats to music late in 1977, partly because it is a book I remember with affection from my childhood and partly because I wanted to set existing verse to music. In my associations with lyricists it has tended to be the case that once a dramatic story line had been agreed, the lyrics are written to music I compose. I was very curious to see whether I could work the other way round. Very luckily Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats contains verses that are extraordinarily musical; they have rhythms that are very much their own, like the ´Rum Tum Tugger' or Old Deuteronomy' and although clearly they dictate to some degree the music that will accompany them they are frequently of an irregular and exciting metre and are very challenging for a composer. I wrote some settings in late 1977 which I began performing on the piano for friends, but I never progressed the idea seriously until after I had composed `Tell Me On A Sunday´. This was performed on BBC TV in the early part of 1980 and I began to think of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats as a possible concert anthology that could also be performed on television. With this in mind, some of my settings were performed in the summer of 1980 at the Sydmonton Festival. Valerie Eliot fortunately came to the concert and with her brought various unpublished pieces of verse by her husband; one of these was ´Grizabella the Glamour Cat'. The musical and dramatic images that this created for me made me feel that there was very much more to the project. I needed the support of someone else to encourage me to re-work my settings and to see if a dramatic whole could be woven from the delightful verse that I was now to be allowed to develop. Thus in the late summer I had my first meeting with Trevor Nunn. Soon after Valerie Eliot produced various other uncollected poems, three of which we have incorporated into "Cats" in their entirety. She also gave us a fascinating rough draft of an opening poem for what appears to have been conceived as a longer book about cats and dogs. This poem was not appropriate for the stage but it inspired us to write a lyric with the same intention of celebrating the supremacy of Jellicle cats. We have been able to include lines from the end of Eliot's draft poem which now introduce The Naming of Cats. But what was most thrilling was to find a reference in one of Eliot's letters to a coherent, albeit incomplete structure, for an evening; he proposed that eventually the cats were to go Up up up past the Russell Hotel, up up up to the Heaviside Layerî. Trevor Nunn, who I discovered has a taste for tackling theatrical problems that most people consider insoluble, set to work immediately with me combing Eliot's works and we were reminded of the many references to cats in the main body of his writing.  I have enjoyed working on "Cats" as much as on any show on which I have worked. My gratitude will be undying to Valerie Eliot without whose encouragement the musical could not have taken its present form."
Andrew Lloyd Webber