I had an idea for my blog going into the fall, that I’d start covering more serious topics like the attempts to impeach Trump or the crisis in Sudan. And I’ve spent my hiatus paying close attention to those things and keeping tabs on what I want to say.
But this new CATS: The Musical trailer pushed me over an edge.
My first memory as a sentient human being is sitting in a theater, watching CATS live for the first time with my mom and my aunt.
My first movie was the VHS copy of CATS.
My first crush was the male protagonist of CATS. My second crush was the female protagonist of CATS.
My childhood monster was the antagonist, Macavity, from CATS.
When questioned, my dad said that I must have watched that movie at least 50 times in my life. I know every line to every song, every frame of every scene, every set piece, every costume, every bar, measure, chorus and verse.
The musical itself is super weird. Esoteric, it follows the history of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles, as they decide the candidates for cat heaven at their annual Jellicle Ball. The candidates are, as I remember them as a child: Mayor Cat (Bustopher Jones), Tappity Cat (Jennyanydots), Pizza Cat (Rum Tum Tugger), Twin Cats (Mongojerrie and Rumpleteazer), Railway Cat (Skimbleshanks), Matthew (Munkostrap, for some reason renamed normally in my childish brain), Magical Mr. Mistoffolees, and White Cat (Victoria).
The only cats whose names I actually remembered were Mistoffolees and Grizabella, the Glamor Cat. I loved each and every one of them, but Griz was my favorite. She’s old, she’s an outcast, and she gave little girls like me, who had trouble making friends in school, hope that everything would be okay.
I first heard that the gods that be would be making a movie version in the context of Taylor Swift. Most people who know me know how I feel about her, so naturally when I discovered she was playing a major part of the movie (Bumbalaurina, known to me as Red Cat, who is very feisty but whose main character trait is that she hates Macavity, which like, get in line), I was irate.
As if you could seriously remake Andrew Lloyd Webber and T.S. Eliot and expect it to compare.
I can’t decide what makes me more angry: the presence of Taylor Swift anywhere in the vicinity of my treasured childhood memory, or the weird CGI-real life mix they’ve chosen to tell the story.
There are some things that don’t need to be fixed. And maybe I’m being defensive because so much of my identity springs from that place of creativity and art and music, and so much of that all began with this musical. I’m naturally protective of this thing that is the fixed center of my personality.
Long story short: you’re going to mess with this, don’t. But if you must, just let J-Hud and J-Dench play every character and wake me when it’s on YouTube.