The venerable musical 'Cats' is making its way to the big screen. After 39 years of stage performances between the West End in London and Broadway in NYC, total performances are in the tens of thousands. Based on T.S. Eliot's 1939 poetry tome 'Old Posssum's Book of Practical Cats,' Andrew Loyd Webber began composing the songs in 1977 giving voice to his iconic character Grizabella and her iconic show-stopper song "Memory."
Hudson et al
Set for a Christmas debut airing, Jennifer Hudson will assume the role amidst a star-studded cast, including Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, James Corden, and Ian McKellan.
The New Grizabella
As Hudson takes on the role, her interpretation of Grizabella will surely be compared to such greats as Elaine Page and Betty Buckley.
As a social pariah, the role is that of an outcast from the Jellicles (the reigning tribe of cats) and has fallen into despair due to a hard street life living in the red light district. Smithsonian Magazine describes her as a “bedraggled Mary Magdalene . . . [while] her voice remains something from the heavens."
However, when Grizabella chose to seek acceptance, she transforms into a hero of sorts. Ultimately, she seeks to be reborn through the weird Jellicle ritual that allows one to come back as a baby Jellicle—a kitten.
Steal the show?
Movie critic Kourtney Jackson writes "there's no doubt that Hudson will kill it with the vocals. Why? 'Memory' is one of the most famous songs from Cats, and it’s considered to be Grizabella’s anthem."
Here, she performs "Memory" at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. See what you think?
Critic's doubt . . .
Jackson has some doubt whether or not Cats will fare well at the box office?
"No one is sure what to expect with Cats. Some will avoid it because the trailer’s horrific images resemble something from a bad edibles trip or a walk through the demonic meadow of sleep paralysis. Some will avoid it because it never made sense anyways. Others are in love with the whimsy," notes Jackson.
While I don't agree, I do concur with Jackson that "if you’re a Hudson fan, [you will] show up to the theater for her magnificent vocals."
Cats is due out for the holidays on December 20.
Primary Source: Cheatsheet