'Cats' to Close on Broadway, Launch National Tour

CATS Broadway Production Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy

The feline-filled Andrew Lloyd Webber musical will play its final performance in December.

Cats is saying goodbye to Broadway.

The revival of the feline-filled Andrew Lloyd Webber musical will play its final performance at the Neil Simon Theatre on Dec. 30. It will have played 16 previews and 593 regular performances.

The production will launch a national tour in January 2019 at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Additional stops include Chicago, Durham and Los Angeles, among others. The full tour schedule will be announced shortly.

Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the original Broadway production of Cats opened in 1982 at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre (currently home to Lloyd Webber’s newest hit, School of Rock – The Musical), where it ran for 7,485 performances and 18 years, winning seven Tony Awards.

Trevor Nunn, who directed the original staging, also helmed the revival, which began performances last July. It features choreography by Hamilton and Bandstand's Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler, based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne. Leona Lewis starred as Grizabella during the run's initial months.

Cats is one of four Lloyd Webber musicals that played simultaneously on Broadway in the 2016-17 season — along with School of Rock and perennial ticket-seller The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard, with Glenn Close reprising her Tony-winning role. That limited engagement wraps at the Palace Theatre on June 25.

While the Cats revival fell far short of the premiere run, which grossed a whopping $366.4 million, the 2016 production has been a solid performer, pulling in $42.9 million to date in just under a year and drawing a sizeable tourist crowd. However, business has begun tapering off, prompting producers to close at the end of the lucrative holiday period, before the show starts registering significant weekly losses.