Cats under the Jellicle Moon

Grizabella




Grizabella, the Glamour Cat

John Napier's sketch of Grizabella's costume She haunted many a low resort
Near the grimy road of Tottenham Court;
She flitted about the No Man's Land
From The Rising Sun to The Friend at Hand.
And the postman sighed, as he scratched his head:
"You'd really ha' thought she'd ought to be dead
And who would ever suppose that that
Was Grizabella, the Glamour Cat!"

Memory

Daylight, see the dew on a sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses wither away
Like the sunflower I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day

Now Old Deuteronomy just before dawn
Through a silence you feel you could cut with a knife
Announces the cat who can now be reborn
And come back to a different Jellicle life

Memory, turn your face to the moonlight
Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Laurie Then a new life will begin

Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Burnt out ends of smokey days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn't give in
When the dawn comes tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

Grizabella sings Memory from Cats the musical Sunlight, through the trees in summer
Endless masquerading
Like a flower as the dawn is breaking
The memory is fading

Touch me, it's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me you'll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun

Grizabella's Song (Act I)

Remark the cat who hesitates toward you
In the light of the door which opens on her like a grin
You see the border of her coat is torn and stained with sand
And you see the corner of her eye twist like a crooked pin
Grizabella, the Glamour Cat is from an unpublished fragment by T.S. Eliot. Some of the lyrics of Memory & Grizabella's Act I song were paraphrased by Cats director Trevor Nunn from Eliot's Rhapsody on a Windy Night. Compare the song & Grizabella's speech from Act I to the words below:

Rhapsody on a Windy Night

Betty Buckley as Grizabella on Broadway Twelve o'clock.
Along the reaches of the street
Held in a lunar synthesis,
Whispering lunar incantations
Dissolve the floors of memory
And all its clear relations
Its divisions and precisions,
Every street lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum,
And through the spaces of the dark
Midnight shakes the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium.

Half-past one,
The street-lamp sputtered, Elaine Paige as Grizabella West End London
The street-lamp muttered,
The street-lamp said, "Regard that woman
Who hesitates toward you in the light of the door
Which opens on her like a grin.
You see the border of her dress
Is torn and stained with sand,
And you see the corner of her eye
Twists like a crooked pin."

The memory throws up high and dry
A crowd of twisted things;
A twisted branch upon the beach
Eaten smooth, and polished
As if the world gave up
The secret of its skeleton, Linda Balgord as Grizabella on Broadway
Stiff and white.
A broken spring in a factory yard,
Rust that clings to the form that the strength has left
Hard and curled and ready to snap.

Half-past two,
The street-lamp said,
"Remark the cat which flattens itself in the gutter,
Slips out its tongue
And devours a morsel of rancid butter."
So the hand of the child, automatic,
Slipped out and pocketed a toy that was running along the quay.
I could see nothing behind that child's eye.
I have seen eyes in the street
Trying to peer through lighted shutters,
And a crab one afternoon in a pool, Grizabella sings
An old crab with barnacles on his back,
Gripped the end of a stick which I held him.

Half-past three,
The lamp sputtered,
The lamp muttered in the dark.
The lamp hummed:
"Regard the moon,
La lune ne garde aucune rancune,
She winks a feeble eye,
She smiles into corners.
She smoothes the hair of the grass.
The moon has lost her memory.
A washed-out smallpox cracks her face,
Her hand twists a paper rose,
That smells of dust and eau de Cologne,
She is alone
With all the old nocturnal smells
That cross and cross across her brain."
The reminiscence comes
Of sunless dry geraniums
And dust in crevices,
Smells of chestnuts in the streets,
And female smells in shuttered rooms,
And cigarettes in corridors
And cocktail smells in bars.

The lamp said,
"Four o'clock,
Here is the number on the door.
Memory!
You have the key,
The little lamp spreads a ring on the stair.
Mount.
The bed is open, the tooth-brush hangs on the wall,
Put your shoes at the door, sleep, prepare for life."

The last twist of the knife.


Some photos & John Napier's sketch scanned from CATS: The Book of the Musical
Memory available on Cats: the complete original Broadway cast recording

Laurie Beechman played Grizabella in the performance I saw at the Winter Garden Theater in NY in 1987. She also was the first to play the part in the US touring company. Elaine Paige originated the role in London in 1981 and plays the Glamour Cat in the video. Betty Buckley was the first to play Griz on Broadway and Linda Balgord is playing the role on Broadway right now (May 2000) I was lucky enough to see her March 29 :-)


Grizabella Gallery ~ more photos & the Grizabella Appreciation Society

Grizabella Facts & Fancies ~ fan art, what the name Grizabella means and actresses who have played her

Costume Page ~ this fan's interpretation of Griz plus some great photos of fan made CATS costumes from all over the web




Thanks to Ozzie
for making this very cool badge for me.
His site, By The Light of the Jellicle Moon,
is well worth the visit.








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Cats the musical & cast photos The Really Useful Group Ltd.
Musical score by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Lyrics based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, additional words by Trevor Nunn & Richard Stilgoe
Rhapsody on a Windy Night written by T.S. Eliot
Meditative Cat graphics & all text descriptions 2000 Catresea Ann Canivan