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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the better of the two major English CATS recordings, 1 April 2007
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Yi-Peng (Singapore) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Cats (Complete Original Broadway Cast Recording) (Audio CD)
Between the London and Broadway recordings of CATS I tend to favour the Broadway cast version more. I know many CATS fans who were raised on Elaine Paige and the original London cast may be up in arms about this, but objectively there is perhaps more fun in this New York version of the musical. I don't intend any Yankcentrism, but there is an irrepressible energy in this version that isn't there on the original London cast recording. The revisions allow the score to sound more energetic, aided by the beefed-up orchestrations that sound tight and juicy. This recording also benefits from more characterful, more engaging performances that spruce and spice up the musical, yet the New York cast still maintains the quintessential Britishness of this Lloyd-Webber musical.

Betty Buckley headlines the cast with her rendition of Grizabella that offers touches of subtlety and sadness to the role. Elaine Paige certainly has a fantastic voice, yet on the OLC she sounds a little tentative as she hadn't matured into the role at that time. (Paige does better justice to the role in the 1998 video adaptation.) She is joined by Ken Page as a warm-hearted Old Deuteronomy. Page may be a different creature from Brian Blessed of the OLC, but he is equally warm-hearted and sincere. Terrence Mann as the Tugger is suitably playful and mischievous, perhaps more so than Paul Nicholas or Jeff Phillips, and Harry Groener as Munkustrap makes the most of his solos and ensembles, engaging the listener. The supporting cast is well-filled, with Stephen Hanan as a vividly theatrical Gus and Anna McNeely as a tart, no-nonsense Jennyanydots.

It's true that the Broadway cast rendition left out many wonderful bits of the London album, such as missing verses and alternative settings. Yes the London cast version has merits in offering us the world-premiere version of the musical, with equally solid performances, leaner orchestrations and passages of music that were cut from later productions. However, this rendition captures more of the irrepressible energy and the mystery of this feline fantasy. There is more playfulness in Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer (though I would have liked both these cats to really sing their number rather than Mistoffelees), and perhaps more mockheroic humour in Growltiger's Last Stand (replete with Puccini parody) that serves the scene more than the original version that included Billy M'Caw. There is perhaps a more Broadway-like sound in Macavity, the Gumbie Cat, the Rum Tum Tugger and the Jellicle Ball.It's true that this version does not include the true original version of Memory, but it can be easily found on some Lloyd Webber compilations that include Buckley's alternative single version that includes the original lyrics.

This recording benefits greatly from the remastering efforts of Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Records in its remastering programme of the Lloyd-Webber catalogue. Granted, one might not always be able to listen clearly to the different parts in the orchestration, but that's the limitation of the original recording itself. Otherwise, the sound is beefed-up, clearer and more open, and makes the previous Geffen and Polydor CDs suffer and pale in comparison.

In short, I would feel more comfortable about recommending the Broadway cast recording of CATS over the London cast. I know it may be iconoclastic to most people, but perhaps this version sounds more energetic and theatrical, and allows us to feel more of the mystery, the mystique and the magic of this musical.

As a parting shot, this remastering is REALLY WELL worth it, and offers an ideal way to experience CATS at its best. Yes it doesn't include The Pekes and The Pollicles or even the Mistoffelees dance, but it's still a wonderful recording nevertheless. I only wish that Really Useful will come up with a remastered highlights edition...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, 10 July 2013
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This review is from: Cats (Complete Original Broadway Cast Recording) (Audio CD)
Love this version, had one already but lost it so bought this one when the copy I bought on my iPhone was slightly different with the original versions of the songs which aren't as good in some cases as the updated ones on here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cats by T.S Eliot, 25 Feb. 2006
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This review is from: Cats (Complete Original Broadway Cast Recording) (Audio CD)
I think that it's so musical and you really want to dance along with the music. The cats have really good costume. I think it's the best C.D!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not the most famous artists, but the best performance., 25 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Cats (Complete Original Broadway Cast Recording) (Audio CD)
I was very happy to find this performance, having owned an LP version of it for at least 25 years. Most people are used to the London performances by (among others) Elaine Page. Names like Cynthia Onrubia (Memory), Bonnie Simons (Gus: the Theatre Cat), Ken Page (Old Deuteronomy) don't spring to most people's mind, but believe me, the members of the original Broadway cast were so good. I'd prefer them any day. Just have a listen.
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Cats (Complete Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Cats (Complete Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Cynthia Onrubia (Audio CD - 2005)
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