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Changes to the Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer number on Broadw 
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Tony Winner
Tony Winner

Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2004 11:35 pm
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Post Changes to the Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer number on Broadw
I've long wanted to ask a question about the changes that this number underwent in its early years on Broadway.

In the first London production the two notorious cat-burglars sang this song by themselves, separated from Bustopher Jones's visit by the first Macavity scare. It was always like that for the UK productions. However the Broadway version changed the staging of the song. Mr Mistoffelees sang this as a puppet show to entertain Bustopher while Coricopat and Etcetera played Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer. Then the Macavity scare was placed after the song and before Old Deuteronomy's entrance. The US tours reverted back to the original arrangement even with the new setting of the song, and so did Broadway towards the end of the 1980s.

My question is this: why was there a need to change the staging of this number if the producers of Cats would revert back to the original way it was staged and performed? It would have been a more efficient use of energy if they had left the first Macavity scare after Bustopher and found singer-dancers to play the two cat-burglars throughout the entire show.


Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:46 pm
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Post Re: Changes to the Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer number on Br
I remember reading that Timothy Scott, who played Mistoffelees in the original Broadway production, insisted on a change of his character. He didn't want to sing and dance the same way that Wayne Sleep had done it in London, so they gave "The Old Gumbie Cat" to Munkustrap and "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" to Misto.

No professional behaviour in my opinion, but well... it's a long time ago :)

After Tim had left the production, they decided to do the number as it was meant to be, with Mungo and Rumple singing their song on their own.

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Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:42 pm
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Tony Winner
Tony Winner

Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2004 11:35 pm
Posts: 355
Location: Singapore
Post Re: Changes to the Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer number on Br
Interesting explanation. That explains everything. I know that it's a bugbear on the Broadway album, but I don't mind because the song would still introduce these cat-burglars.

I was also wondering. Did ALW recompose the song for Broadway at Timothy Scott's prompting, or did he do this as part of the changes that were being made to the score for New York? I know that the Puccini pastiche in the Growltiger sequence was written for Stephen Hanan's talents. So I wondered if the new version of Mungo & Rumpel was written for Timothy Scott's talents rather than as a "posterity" change to the score.


Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:53 pm
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Post Re: Changes to the Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer number on Br
Well, that's a good question... especially because the original version of the song as well as "The Old Gumbie Cat" with Mistoffelees singing and dancing the tap dance with Jenny was used in UK productions (London and UK Tours) until 1996. Maybe he wrote both songs and it was up to the producers whether they wanted to use the one or the other version.
Today, it seems like all new productions (except the Australian ones) have to use the reworked score from 2003, with Munkustrap singing Gumbie, the shortened tap dance and Jellicle Ball, the Vienna version of Mungo and Rumple, the lacking reprise of Grizabella the Glamour Cat before Memory I, and the Ballad of Billy McCaw.

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Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:03 am
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