Mark Your Calendars: You Can Stream a 1998 Production of Cats for Free This Weekend

Anyone with access to YouTube just scored an invitation to the Jellicle Ball.
Anyone with access to YouTube just scored an invitation to the Jellicle Ball. / Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

Last month, it was announced that a different Andrew Lloyd Webber musical would be available to stream for free on YouTube each Friday for the foreseeable future. The schedule wasn’t revealed in full, which left one pressing question at the front of every devoted Webber-ite’s mind: Would the 1998 Broadway recording of Cats be part of the lineup?

The answer, we can now finally confirm, is yes. As Time Out reports, the direct-to-video musical movie featuring Elaine Paige, Ken Page, John Partridge, and the rest of the Broadway cats will air on YouTube this Friday, May 15, at 2 p.m. EST and remain posted for 48 hours afterward. The broadcast is part of “The Shows Must Go On!” series—a partnership between Webber’s production company, The Really Useful Group, and Universal—which so far has included Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, and more Webber classics.

Cats, based on T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, first pounced onstage in 1981, and audiences have been trying to answer the question “What’s a Jellicle cat?” ever since. The musical experienced a resurgence of publicity and interest with the release of Tom Hooper’s film adaptation in December 2019, but despite an exceptionally talented cast, dance numbers by Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and digital fur technology, it was mostly met with confusion (and alarm) from viewers who weren’t familiar with the source material. This weekend’s livestream could be the moment many Cats enthusiasts have always hoped for—the spark that ignites a new generation of fans.

Prepare for Friday’s performance, which you’ll be able to stream here, with 13 memorable facts about the musical.

[h/t Time Out]