Cats in Chicago Details
Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939), many of the songs are Eliot’s verse set to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music. This includes a few previously unpublished pieces given to Webber by Eliot’s widow. The biggest exception to that is of course the show’s most famous song, “Memory.” One of the most original concepts among Broadway shows, Cats completely changed the face of Broadway in the early 1980s and reignited the public’s love for stage shows. Cats is a sung-through musical, meaning all lines are sung with the exception of the occasional spoken phrase within songs. Cats is also known for its dance-centered content where the choreography is the focus rather than an enhancement to the singing. Breaking away from traditional choreography, Cats is a masterpiece of technical moves performed by gifted dancers who can also sing. It’s no wonder Cats has been going strong and breaking records for almost forty years. Cats first landed in Chicago in March of 1985.
Originally opened as the Oriental Theatre in 1926, the James M. Nederlander Theatre was designed by George L. and Cornelius W. Rapp. While it followed the movie palace trend of the time, it holds the distinction of being one of the first to create an immersive experience for audiences. Its lavish décor still features large mosaics of an exotic prince and princess, Buddhas, and elephant-throne lighting.
Many notable performers have graced the James M. Nederlander Theatre’s stage throughout its nearly one hundred years. Fanny Brice, Duke Ellington, Judy Garland, and Sophie Tucker have all performed at the theatre, as well as many other famous talents. In 1978 the theatre was added to the Federal National Registry of Historic Places, and in 1998 a full restoration was completed to bring the building to its original splendor. In 2000, Broadway in Chicago was formed, bringing countless Broadway hits to the stage. Wicked, Pretty Woman: the Musical, and Big Fish have all appeared at the James M. Nederlander Theatre in addition to many other favorites.
Cats has received dozens of award nominations since it premiered in 1981. With over two dozen awards won, Cats has been one of the most beloved musicals both on and off Broadway for nearly four decades. Among the awards won throughout the years, Cats has won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography, and Best Direction of a Musical, all in 1983. In 1984, Cats won a Grammy Award for Best Cast Show Album. International performances of Cats have also received awards from the Moliére Award for Best Musical in Paris (1989), to the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards for Best Performance and Best Technical Contribution in South Africa (2001).
How much does it cost to see Cats in Chicago?
Tickets to see Cats in Chicago are around $80 per person.
Cats in Chicago dates
Cats plays in Chicago July 16 through August 4, 2019. Shows run Tuesday through Sunday, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Wednesday has an additional matinee at 2 p.m. Shows are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sundays.