Since Cats first opened on the West End stage in 1981, it has become one of the world’s best known and best loved musicals and has grossed over £1 billion. With a plot based on T.S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and award-winning music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Cats, originally directed by Trevor Nunn, has since been presented in over 20 countries and in about 250 cities, including such diverse destinations as Buenos Aires, Seoul, Helsinki and Singapore.
The show has been translated into 10 languages: Japanese, German, (three versions for Germany, Austria and Switzerland), Hungarian, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish, French, Spanish (two versions for Mexico and Argentina) and Italian. The Swiss production required a bilingual cast who performed in German and English on alternate nights. The title of the show has rarely been translated, the Mexican producers did a survey as to whether the Mexican audience would like their production to be called Gatos – the response in favour of keeping the English original was unanimous.
The show has not only been presented in theatres, but also in tents in Japan and Korea, an engine shed in Switzerland, and school gymnasiums across the USA.