Ed Pearce‘s Today’s Memory
Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats
Originally shared by Ed Pearce
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats premiered in London’s West End on May 11, 1981.
TS Eliot liked cats and wrote a book about the feline creatures, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, published in 1939.
„Old Possum” was the nickname by which fellow poet Ezra Pound referred to Eliot.
The book was the basis for Cats, a spectacular musical comedy of the 1980s with music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Cats was supposed to have starred Judi Dench, but she injured her achilles tendon in rehearsals and was replaced by Elaine Paige.
Eliot’s widow Valerie allowed the show on the proviso it consisted only of Eliot’s poems set to music.(„Memory” is the sole exception, with words by Trevor Nunn).
“Memory” is sung by the character Grizabella briefly in the first act and in full at the climax of the show. Grizabella is not mentioned in the book, however Eliot’s widow Valerie gave Nunn an unpublished eight line poem by Eliot called „Grizabella the Glamour Cat.” It has also been said that she is a feline version of a woman, who is mentioned in Eliot’s poem Rhapsody on a Windy Night.