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Wednesday, 9 May, 2001, 05:59 GMT 06:59 UK
Cats celebrates 20th year
Cats has been performed in 300 countries
Hit London musical Cats celebrated its 20th birthday on Tuesday with a reunion of cast members past and present.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage show opened at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane, on 11 May 1981 to a sell-out audience and is the longest running musical in West End history.

The production's original stars Elaine Paige, Brian Blessed, Paul Nicholas, Wayne Sleep and Bonnie Langford marked the occasion with a photo call at the New London Theatre.

They will be joined by current Cats cast members in full costume.

Theatre history

Cats is one of the major worldwide theatre success of the last quarter of a century and has been performed more 8,500 times in London, taking more than 125m at the box office.

More than eight million people have seen the production and world-wide it has grossed more than a billion pounds.

The show's American production on Broadway closed last year after more than 18 years, taking about $400m.

It was the longest running show in American theatre history.

The production has been translated into 10 languages and has been performed in more than 26 countries and 300 cities.

It is based on 14 poems written by TS Eliot to which Lord Lloyd-Webber added his own score.

The current cast includes Chrissie Hammond, Dave Willetts, John Partridge, Jacob Brent and Marilyn Wulff.

See also:

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Spacey backs British theatre
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