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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Original cast join Cats swansong
Cats was a big tourist attraction
The original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats will join 150 other performers for the show's farewell on its 21st birthday.

Elaine Paige and Brian Blessed, who launched the record-breaking show, will feature in an extravaganza beamed to an outside audience.

They will be joined by dozens who have starred in the show over the years.

There will be a mass finale which is being choreographed as we speak

Nick Allott
Executive producer
A film crew will provide a live video relay for thousands of people who have been unable to acquire tickets as the curtain finally comes down on Saturday night.

The show is the longest-running musical production in the West End and Broadway, but bosses have decided it is no longer economical to run at the New London Theatre, its home since it opened in 1981.

"We are oversubscribed by something like 20 or 30 times for the last night," said executive producer of Cats, Nick Allott.

Wayne Sleep

The video relay would "give all those people that couldn't get in a chance to see the final show".

Most of the original cast will be present, with Blessed and Paige accompanied by dancer Wayne Sleep and actor Paul Nicholas.

"There are only a couple who won't be able to make it because they are stuck in America and Australia," said Mr Allott.

"The show itself will take place as normal but there will be a mass finale which is being choreographed as we speak and we have been working on it since January when the closure was announced.

"With so many people on stage at once, the places on stage are being worked out to the last centimetre."

Economic sense

Mr Allott was manager at the New London when the show opened.

He is now managing director of producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh's company.

Explaining the closure, he said: "The houses were still very good, but it's an expensive show to run. There comes a point when the margins don't make sense any more.

"But when it ends it will take on a whole new life. There is a tour next year and it will be going out across the whole UK."

See also:

15 Jan 02 | Showbiz
Record-breaking Cats bows out
09 May 01 | Arts
Cats celebrates 20th year
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Cats eye Chinese stage
11 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Last purr for Broadway Cats
01 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Paws and play - Cats goes to video
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