Have you ever come out of a showing of Cats, or listened to the CD,
or watched the video, and wonder 'what the heck was that all about?'
Well, here's what it's all about!
The story begins with the cats gathering one by one at the junkyard. They tell you the characteristics you need to be a Jellicle cat until they discover a man in the audience who--gasp--does not know what a Jellicle cat is. The cats then explain that a cat has three different names--the one the family gives him, one that is unique to each cat, and the one that only the cat himself knows.
Victoria, a young white kitten, performs a dance that is the invitation to the Jellicle Ball, which calls all of the cats out of hiding. Munkustrap, the gray tabby who is considered to be second-in-command, explains that once a year, all of the Jellicle cats gather with the hope of being the one cat who is chosen by Old Deuteronomy to make the journey to the Heaviside Layer and "come back to a different Jellicle life." This is similar to a reincarnation.
The cats come forward one by one to introduce themselves to the audience and showcase their special abilities.
The first cat is Jennyanydots, the Old Gumbie cat. She lounges and sleeps all day, but by night she is always up and about. She makes sure that everyone in the house behaves themselves, such as the mice and the cockroaches.
The gathering is interrupted by the Rum Tum Tugger. He is always into things and loves to be the center of attention. The cats are bored and annoyed with him while the kittens think he's exciting.
Grizabella enters next and the mood immediately changes. The kittens try to greet their fellow Jellicle, but the older cats pull them away. Grizabella left the group to see the world and she is no longer considered a Jellicle. She wants to rejoin the group, but everyone ignores her and she sadly limps away.
Next enters Bustopher Jones, an aristocrat known for his sophistication and for the fact that he always wears his white spats. Bustopher is greatly admired by his fellow Jellicles even though he is a rather large and ungraceful cat.
A loud crash scares the Jellicles back into hiding and the mischievous team of Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer appear. They annoy their family by tearing through the house on a regular basis and breaking anything they can get their little paws on.
Finally the Jellicle leader, Old Deuteronomy, arrives. In celebration, the cats perform the story of the Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles. After the performance, another crash causes the Jellicles to scatter. Old Deuteronomy calms them down and the Jellicle Ball begins.
After the ball, Grizabella appears again. The Jellicles mock and tease her. Grizabella longs to be accepted, but, again, limps off alone.
The Jellicles gather to rest from their activities after the ball. Old Deuteronomy talks of the moments of happiness while his group rests.
Gus, the old theatre cat, is introduced next. Jellylorum helps him to describe the way it used to be when he was a famous actor in his younger days. He relives one of his greatest roles--Growltiger.
Skimbleshanks, the railway cat, steps forward next and tells how he more or less runs the Sleeping Car Express. The train cannot leave the station until Skimbleshanks is found. He walks up and down the corridors of the train to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Another loud crash announces the arrival of Macavity, the mystery cat. He hypnotizes the Jellicles while his henchmen kidnap Old Deuteronomy. Demeter and Bombalurina tell what they know of Macavity.
Macavity appears again disguised as Old Deuteronomy. When he is discovered, the male cats fight with him in defense of their territory. Tired and wounded from the fight, Macavity shorts out the electricity and leaves the Jellicles in the dark without their leader.
The Rum Tum Tugger calls upon the magical Mr. Mistoffelees, who restores the light in the junkyard. Mistoffelees demonstrates some of his magical powers and, as his finale, brings back Old Deuteronomy.
It is now almost dawn and the Jellicles gather around Old Deuteronomy to hear which Jellicle will be chosen to be reborn. Grizabella appears once again and, as beofre, the cats turn their backs on her. Old Deuteronomy allows her to stay and she tells how her memories are the only thing she has left and how she longs for a new life.
Victoria goes to Grizabella and lightly touches her paw. One by one, each of the Jellicles accept Grizabella back into their group. It is now know that Grizabella is Old Deuteronomy's choice to be reborn.
After Grizabella makes her journey to the Heaviside Layer, Old Deuteronomy turns to the audience and explains how one should address a cat.