The original production opened at the New London Theatre, in the West End on 11 May 1981 . Eight years later it celebrated it's first important milestone: after 3,358 performances, Cats became the longest running musical in the history of the British theatre.
Cats closed in London in 2002, the same year it celebrated it's 21 st birthday.
On 29 January 1996 the London production of Cats celebrated its 6,141st performance and became the longest running musical in the history of West End theatre.
In April 1999 the gross box office for the London production was over £115,363,000.00
CATS opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 7, 1982, and continued to live up to its motto of playing "Now and Forever' until September 10 2000. On 19 June 1997 the show became the longest running musical on Broadway until January 9th 2006 when it was overtaken by The Phantom of the Opera.
Since its opening, Cats has been presented in twenty-six countries and over three hundred cities, including such diverse destinations as Buenos Aires , Seoul , Helsinki and Singapore . Within two and half years of the London opening there were productions in New York, Tokyo, Budapest and Vienna, and the first of tour US touring productions had hit the road.
Cats has been translated into ten languages: Japanese, German, (three versions for Germany , Austria and Switzerland ), Hungarian, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish, French, Spanish (two versions for Mexico and Argentina ) and Italian. The Swiss production required a bilingual cast who performed in German and English on alternate nights.
Despite its international appeal, the title of the show has rarely been translated - the Mexican producers did a survey as to whether the Mexican audience would like their production to be called Gatos - the response in favour of keeping the English original was unanimous.
On October 1, 1991, CATS became the longest, continuously touring show in American theatre history. The CATS four US tours have thus far played a combined total of sixteen years and two months.
"Memory" has been recorded by a variety of over 150 artists ranging from Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis to Liberace. Barry Manilow's rendition was a top-40 hit in the U.S.
A techno/dance version by European singer Natalie Grant topped the European dance charts in 1999.
The Original London Cast Recording of CATS won the 1982 Grammy Award for Best Cast Album . The next year the Original Broadway Cast Recording won the same award.
In its 21 years at the New London Theatre Cats notched up a staggering 8,950 performances.
A specially filmed production of Cats was released by Really Useful Films in 1998 which is available on video and DVD. It features a "dream cast" including Sir John Mills and Elaine Paige