If you Google “cats in musical comedy”, you will be overwhelmed with links to articles and reviews about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical, “Cats”.
As will be seen, however, “Cats” isn’t the only musical about our furry felines, and there are others to explore and learn to love.
Garfield: The Musical
Garfield, the obnoxious-yet-lovable gigantic orange tabby, is one of the most iconic cats of our time, and a little known fact is that he has a musical all of his very own.
Co-written by Garfield creator, Jim Davis, “Garfield: The Musical” is an hour long lasagna-loving orange-cat extravaganza where you will meet all the most well known inhabitants of the Garfield-verse including Nermal, Pookie, Odie and long-suffering cat owner, Jon.
Billed as “the musical with cattitude”, the show premiered in 2015 and is sure to become a family favorite.
Archy & Mehitabel / Shinbone Alley
Don Marquis’s saga of typewriting cockroach Archy and his life-long friend, the Cleopatra-reincarnated alley cat, Mehitabel, began life in 1916 as a series of short stories and funny anecdotes published in New York City’s Evening Sun newspaper.
It then grew up to become a concept album starring Carol Channing as the “always gay” Mehitabel, morphed into the broadway show “Shinbone Alley” (where Eartha Kitt took over the role), and, finally, transformed into an animated feature, also “Shinbone Alley”, where Channing reprised her starring role.
Whatever the name, the story’s unique mix of humor, pathos and heart remains absolutely entertaining.
Disney’s venture into feline musical comedy is this 1970 smash-hit, which tells the tale of three darling Persian kittens and their mother, Duchess, who must find their way home after being kidnapped by a greedy butler.
Filled with catchy songs – “Everybody Wants To Be A Cat” is a show-stopper for cat lovers! – and with the characters’ being voiced by some of the best in the business, including Scatman Crothers as the aptly named Scat Cat, this is one Disney offering that can’t go wrong!
Another tale about cats lost in Paris – this time it’s the gorgeous Mewsette who needs a hero’s rescue – is Gay Purr-ee, which has the distinction of being the only animated film ever to star the incomparable Judy Garland.
This charming 1962 feature boasts a star-studded cast that includes “Camelot” lead Robert Goulet, Hermione Gingold of “The Music Man” fame and Mel Blanc, who also gave voice to Sylvester the Cat.
With music composed by the song-writing team from “The Wizard of Oz”, this film may be rare today, but it was a hit in its time.
Many musicals also feature songs mentioning cats, including the sad “The Old Folks” from “Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris“.
Unforgettable cat-sung songs also appear on stage and screen like Si and Am’s quirky hit from “Lady And The Tramp”: “We Are Siamese If You Please”.
And one thing’s for sure: whether as principal talent or show-stealing cameos, cats will continue as fan favorites in musical comedy!