Universal Pictures has moved the upcoming musical “CATS” to 2019 and bumped the “Wicked” adaptation to 2020. The adaptation of the popular Broadway play will be directed by Tom Hooper, and just like the original play, is based on “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot.
The original musical grew to epic heights under Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is serving as an executive producer with Steven Spielberg and Angela Morrison.
Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables, The Danish Girl) will be working with the renown choreographer Wayne McGregor and the film has casting director Lucy Bevan. “CATS” will be produced by Working Title Films in association with Monumental Pictures and The Really Useful Group.
One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, “Cats” received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981—where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances. The production was the winner of the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. In 1983 the Broadway production became the recipient of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for an extraordinary 18 years.
This is bad news for fans of “Wicked,” since that musical is now being pushed back another year. Universal Pictures did confirm that Winnie Holzman and Stephen Schwartz would be writing the screenplay, which of course is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. Seen by more than 50 million fans around the world, “Wicked” has become a cultural phenomenon in its own right, even if it is being upstaged by CATS at the moment. The three-time Tony Award-winning stage musical will eventually come to the big-screen, we will just have to wait a little longer.
This means that “CATS” should be going into production sometime later this year and we should have a few casting confirmations over the next few months.