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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 March, 2003, 11:14 GMT
Cats debuts in China
The cast of Cats
The show sets TS Eliot's book to music
Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical Cats will debut in China on Friday, almost a year after it ended its 21-year run in London's West End.

Opening night at Shanghai Grand Theatre will be packed after tickets quickly sold out.

Cats, which sets to music verses from TS Eliot's 1939 children's book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, is stopping in Shanghai as part of a world tour.

The original version on the West End stage was closed in May 2002 because it was no longer considered commercially viable to keep it going.

In its heyday, Cats was one of London's biggest attractions.

In Shanghai, the show is sold out until 2 April with a few seats remaining for performances running through to 11 May.

"This figure may be the record for all theatres in Shanghai," said Zhang Xiaoding, the theatre's spokesman.

Star performers

Cats was also New York's longest-running show, closing after 18 years in 2000.

The story about a group of cats revolves around one special night when the Jellicle cats gather in a junkyard to celebrate who they are.

The cast of Cats
Cats has broken records and won awards

The best known song is Memory, which was first a hit with the original star of the show, Elaine Paige.

Among the other famous names who performed in Cats down the years were Paul Nicholas and dancer Wayne Sleep.

It took 136m at London box offices and has taken a further 1.25bn worldwide. More than eight million people have enjoyed the show.

It has won a Grammy and two Laurence Olivier awards.

Record-breaking Cats bows out
15 Jan 02  |  Showbiz
Cats celebrates 20th year
09 May 01  |  Arts
Cats eye Chinese stage
06 Feb 01  |  Entertainment
Last purr for Broadway Cats
11 Sep 00  |  Entertainment
Cats bows out of West End
11 May 02  |  Arts

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