Downtown Music Publishing has signed a publishing administration agreement with Faber Music, which represents composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s complete works for the musical and soon-to-be feature film Cats, based on the poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. This multi-year publishing administration, royalty collection, and marketing agreement covers the United States and Canada.
“We are honoured and delighted that Faber have entrusted us to represent the musical works from Cats.” said Roberto Neri, Managing Director of Downtown’s London office. “Downtown will continue to protect these legacy songs, whilst providing unparalleled monetization and further exploitation opportunities.”
A Tom Hooper-directed feature film adaptation of the sung-through musical is currently in production featuring an all-star cast that includes Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Judi Dench, and more and is set to be released in December 2019.
“We’ve chosen Downtown Music as our North American partner for Cats because of their cutting edge approach to rights management and creative commitment,” said Richard Paine, Faber Music’s Director of Commercial Rights and Business Affairs, of the signing. “Cats is an important title for us, and this is an exciting time for Downtown to start working with it, with Universal’s film of the show now in production. We’re delighted to be working with them, and hope that this will be the start of an expanding relationship with Downtown.”
An eclectic blend of genres and styles, Cats the musical has received multiple awards including seven Tonys including Best Musical and Best Original Score for its original Broadway production and two Laurence Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Outstanding Achievement in a Musical for its seminal run on London’s West End. It also earned Eliot a posthumous Tony for Best Book of a Musical, as the lyrics are directly recited from his original text.
Both productions broke records, as well. Premiering at the New London Theatre in 1981 and the Winter Garden Theatre in New York a year later, the original British production ran for 21 years, ending in 2002, while the American run lasted until 2000 — making it the longest running show in both countries’ histories until 2006. Today, it remains the fourth-longest-running musical in Broadway history, and the West End’s sixth.
Cats has since been revived on Broadway and the West End sporadically, including a 2014 West End production featuring Nicole Scherzinger as “The Glamour Cat” Grizabella. One of the most globally impactful musicals, it has been translated in over 20 languages with major productions in countries around the world — including the Harvest Rain Theatre Company’s at Australia’s Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in 2014, which featured a record-breaking cast of 700 performers. A 1981 cast recording of Cats was also released — and Webber produced a direct-to-video Cats film based on its stage show in 1998, which simulated the live experience.
Downtown is home to prominent film and musical composers including Hans Zimmer, Atticus Ross, Marco Beltrami, Trevor Rabin, Heitor Pereira, Anthony Newley, and the late Sir George Martin. In addition to its roster of composers, Downtown also manages music from storied operas, plays, Broadway shows, films, and television programs such A Star is Born (featuring Oscar and Grammy-nominated single “Shallow”), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Porgy and Bess (featuring the iconic “Summertime”), Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom and Isle of the Dogs, The Defiant Ones, Law Abiding Citizen, Welcome Back Kotter, Party of Five, Forensic Files, and 12 Years a Slave.