Monday, January 20, 2020

The Purrfect 10: Fun Facts About Cats the Musical

We love reading and researching anything and everything about cats, and wanted to find a fun and unique way to share the interesting facts we learn with you! Since top 10 lists are very popular in the blogosphere, we created The Purrfect 10 as a way to present 10 educational or fascinating tidbits about a wide variety of cat-related topics, everything from health issues to cat breeds to famous felines.

I've been fortunate to see the musical Cats twice so far in my lifetime, in Montreal back in 1993 and right here in my hometown a few years later. Both times I was completely captivated by the entire spectacle, particularly the costumes and the music. In honor of the new theatrical release of Cats (which I look forward to seeing in spite of critical reviews), our first Purrfect 10 of 2020 features some fun facts about the beloved musical masterpiece...

1) Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on the 1939 poetry collection Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. The story is set in a larger-than-life junkyard playground as a tribe of cats called the Jellicles come together at the annual Jellicle Ball to decide which one of them will ascend to the Heaviside Layer (their version of Heaven) and be reborn into a new life. The bulk of the musical consists of the different contenders introducing themselves to the audience by explaining how they got their unusual names (Grizabella, Old Deuteronomy, Rum Tum Tugger, Macavity, Mr. Mistoffelees). The story is told completely through music with no dialogue in between the songs.

2) Cats premiered in the West End at the New London Theatre on May 11, 1981, playing a total of 8,949 performances before closing on its 21st anniversary, May 11, 2002. The final performance was broadcast live on a large outdoor screen in Covent Garden for fans who couldn't get a ticket. It debuted on Broadway on October 7, 1982 at the Winter Garden Theatre with a record-breaking $6.2 million in ticket pre-sales, closing on September 10, 2000 after a total of 15 previews and 7,485 performances, making it the fourth longest running musical both on Broadway and the West End. It has been revived in the West End twice and Broadway once, translated into over 15 languages and produced professionally in more than 30 countries.

3) Cats has received numerous international awards and nominations. The original London production was nominated for six Laurence Olivier Awards in 1981, winning two awards including Best New Musical. In 1983 the original Broadway production won seven Tony Awards out of 11 nominations, including Best Musical and a posthumous award to T. S. Eliot for Best Book of a Musical. The Broadway cast recording won a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album in the same year.

4) Cats' most famous song "Memory" is regarded by many as the most successful song ever from a musical. It has been recorded by more than 150 artists including Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Liberace and Johnny Mathis.

5) Cats became the first musical to capitalize on mass merchandising, with stalls set up in theater lobbies selling a wide variety of souvenirs emblazoned with the famous cat's-eyes logo. The official Cats t-shirt became the second-best-selling shirt in the world in the 1980s, second only to the Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt.

6) The wigs used onstage for Cats are made from yak hair, take 40 hours to make and cost around $2,300. They are not recycled after a recast; each actor's head is measured so the wig fits perfectly and can accommodate the amount of skipping and jumping they do as cats. Over its 18-year run, the first Broadway production used 3,247 pounds of yak hair. By comparison, wild yaks can reach weights of up to 2,200 pounds.

7) A Cats postage stamp was issued by the United States Postal Service in 2000 as part of its Celebrate the Century series. The musical was chosen as one of fifteen "outstanding artifacts, events and activities" from the 1980s to be commemorated with its own stamp design.

8) Madame Tussauds New York features wax figures of several characters from the musical, including one of Grizabella that sings "Memory" through the use of projection mapping technology. A wax figure of Rumpleteazer is displayed at the Panoptikum wax museum in Hamburg, Germany.

9) Beginning in March 2019, the Rinkai Line in Tokyo, Japan, uses two songs from the musical, "Memory" and "Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat," for its train departure melodies at the Ōimachi Station.

10) On September 30, 2016 the late Grumpy Cat jumped into the Jellicle Ball, joining the Broadway cast for one night only at the Neil Simon Theatre. Not surprisingly, she hated becoming an Honorary Jellicle Cat.

Have you ever seen Cats the Musical? 
Tell us about your experience!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Mudpie Rose #CaturdayArt

Visit more artsy kitties at Athena's Caturday Art blog hop!

And now our weekly answers (all answered by Mommy this week) for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and Four-Legged Furballs!

1. I could not live without cats, Conway, and coffee. My 3 C's!

2. A simple pleasure I enjoy is a combination of the above: cuddling with Mudpie on my lap, a cup of coffee and music playing in the background. This probably isn't Mudpie's favorite simple pleasure, though. She's not a big fan of music!

3. If I could change one thing about myself, I would make myself a morning person. I've never been able to function in the morning, and I'm finding that as I get older it's only getting harder. Mudpie wouldn't change a thing, and she wouldn't have to. She's purrfect!

4. Good customer service is hard to find these days. At the company I work for we're told that customer requests always take priority over everything else, but it seems like most of the companies I do business with don't share the same philosophy.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Unboxing January's CatLadyBox

The theme of January's CatLadyBox was Mew Year's's what was inside!

Featured Cat Lady Artist: "Happy New Year" by Jamie Shelman of The Dancing Cat

"All the Cats" Soft T-Shirt: I just can't rave enough about how soft all CatLadyBox shirts are. And the color of this one is simply purrfection...not to mention the adorable design!

Retro Cat Clock: I am completely crazy about anything with a retro 50s look so this pink clock will always have a spot in my bedroom.

Kitty Whiskers Lunch Bag: Boring brown lunch bag, be gone! I pack a lunch for work every day so this will get lots of usage!

Cash Meowny Catnip Wand Toy: Mudpie wants to know if this meowny can be used to buy squeezies? She loves her wand toys but it seems lately she's more interested in playing with the handle end than the toy on the other side.

Kitty Cat Clock Catnip Toy: Mudpie needs a clock of her own lately because this winter she's become *gasp* a real cat...napping most of the day and up all night. She starts out the night in bed with me and then is up and roaming the house within an hour. I miss my little cuddle bunny!!!

Not a subscriber yet? Visit CatLadyBox today!

Interested in purchasing individual items from past boxes? You can do that too!

Disclosure: I receive a discount on my CatLadyBox subscription as a thank you for my monthly review. Regardless of compensation received, we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Belated Dress Up Your Pet Day

Yesterday was Dress Up Your Pet Day, and since I haven't attempted to dress up a cat in years (in other words, since a trio of torties took over my life), the holiday passed me by. Then I realized I had the purrfect photo to share from my last non-tortie, Angel Sashi.

Sashi was a classy and dignified older lady who was in my life during the height of the Red Hat Lady craze. That was the inspiration for this photo, which has become a lives permanently on my upright piano where I memorialize beloved pets that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. (Notice the cats in hats on the blanket behind her, too!)

Mudpie gives dressing up a big four paws down. Maybe one day I'll slip a cowgirl hat on her head while she's sleeping...

Monday, January 13, 2020

January Retro Country Rewind #MewsicMovesMe

Last year we premiered our mewsic feature "Retro Country Rewind," a look back at favorite songs that hit #1 during that month from 30, 35, 40 plus years ago. We were so happy that you guys seemed to enjoy it! In this new year we'll be delving into #1 hits from 1970, 1975, 1980, and so on. Let's take a look at January for this freebie week in the Mewsic Moves Me blog hop...

45 Years Ago - 1975, The Door, George Jones

40 Years Ago - 1980, I'll Be Coming Back For More, T.G.Sheppard

35 Years Ago - 1985, Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind, George Strait

30 Years Ago - 1990, Nobody's Home, Clint Black

I don't have a particular favorite this month since there's no Conway in the mix, so let us know yours!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Cat Show #SundaySelfies

Meows from Mudpie!

As we mentioned on Friday, Mommy went to our local cat show yesterday afternoon. Each year she comes home raving about somebody, and this year she fell in love with this pair of Birmans, especially the tortie point on the left. They graciously agreed to snap a selfie.

She is a looker, isn't she? Wonder if I should be jealous.

We'll tell you more about the show soon, but Mommy was also super excited to finally get to meet this tortie, Sienna. Sienna has been entered in the House Pet division for the past few years, but Mommy was never able to get to meet her up close and purrsonal (not to mention pet her) until now.

While she and Sienna's mom were chatting, the other cat in the cage with her escaped! Everyone started yelling, "Cat loose!" and all the doors were closed until the little escapee was captured. Mommy felt partly to blame for him getting out and was very happy when he back safe and sound. Sienna didn't seem to care all that much that her sibling was on the lam.

I'm just glad Mommy is back home safe and sound with ME!

We're joining our friends at The Cat On My Head for the Sunday Selfies blog hop!