It’s easy to believe the stars of Broadways’s fifth longest-running shows ever (and the only one about cats) love cats. After all, without that feline inspiration, the iconic musical and the book of poetry it’s based on wouldn’t exist at all. Now they’ve partnered with the Shelter Pet Project to sing out for shelter cats!
CATS was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and opened on Broadway in 1982, where it ran for 7,485 performances over 18 years. It just wrapped up its Broadway revival and is beginning a national tour next year. And because the cast is made up of cat lovers (go figure), they were eager to help spread the word about cat adoption and the Shelter Pet Project, which is sponsored by Maddie’s Fund® and The Humane Society of the United States.
“We’re passionate about pet adoption, and when we heard the cast of CATS shared that passion, we knew it would be a perfect partnership,” said Sharon Fletcher, Maddie’s Fund Director of Marketing and Communications. “Shelter pet adoption is a cause the cast has supported in the past, but never with a PSA that paired the amazing actors with real – and adoptable! – cats. Once we realized our shared love of shelter cat adoption and the opportunity to extend our message with the cast’s help, working together seemed like an obvious choice. The Shelter Pet Project has always focused on positive, inspiring stories about the relationships between people and their adopted pets, and it doesn’t get much more positive and inspiring than this collaboration!”
The cast teamed up backstage at the Neil Simon Theater with cats from the Humane Society of New York. Broadway photographer Emilio Madrid-Kuser created a series of photos of cats and cast interacting, and the show’s advertising agency, SpotCo, created a total of three videos. Starring in the PSAs were:
- Mamie Parris, who played Grizabella in CATS on Broadway, and has an extensive resume of Broadway and national touring experience in shows like Wicked, 9-to-5, and Ragtime. She has an adopted dog, Cookie.
- Tyler Hanes. He starred as Rum Tum Tugger in CATS on Broadway, and also has extensive experience on Broadway, national tours, and in Chicago’s theater scene. Notably, he was in the Broadway revival of Oklahoma!, A Chorus Line, and Hairspray. He has two adopted cats.
- Zachary Downer made his Broadway debut as Mr. Mistoffelees in CATS.
Tyler Hanes shared how his adopted cats inspired his onstage purrsona, Rum Tum Tugger:
Mamie Parris’ video features her loving and playful interaction with her feline friend from HSNY:
The whole team came together to celebrate cats (and CATS!):