Based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” the musical follows the “Jellicle cats,” each of whom must go before their leader, Old Deuteronomy (played by Judi Dench), to see who will be selected to visit a heaven-like realm known as the “Heaviside Layer” and be reborn into a new life.
Though “Cats” won six Tony Awards after it opened on Broadway in 1982 and helped establish composer Andrew Lloyd Webber as a theatrical impresario, the musical has come to be seen as a bit of a punch line in the intervening years. (Tony Kushner famously zinged the show in his seminal 1991 play, “Angels In America,” less than a decade later.)
So when stars like Corden and Swift ― not to mention Idris Elba, Ian McKellen and Rebel Wilson ― began signing on for director Tom Hooper’s movie version, which hits theaters this holiday season, there was plenty of head-scratching going on.
Those early doubts are unlikely to be settled by the new trailer, in which the actors appear as, well, singing and dancing cats with the help of CGI and motion-capture technology.
From the looks of the clip, however, “Cats” has a major asset in Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat. Hudson’s take on the musical’s most famous and beloved song, “Memory,” can be heard throughout, and it’s pretty damn glorious.
“Cats” hits theaters Dec. 20.