Cats 1998: What Is Kittens Part One
So, this is actually more of a way of determining the various age groups of characters. It’s more than just kittens and adults. There are several different subcategories.
I’ll start by saying that different sources perceive Electra, Etcetera, George, Jemima, Mistoffelees, Mungojerrie, Plato, Pouncival, Rumpleteazer, Tumblebrutus, and Victoria as kittens. All of them come across as “baby” sometimes and none of them seem to recognize Grizabella. In some other productions, but usually not 1998, Alonzo, Coricopat, and Tantomile are also seen as “baby”. But, they’re all over the place.
Part 1: Gumbie Cat
So, everyone gets in place for the first musical number. Bomba, Demeter, and Jellylorum get in place to sing as the Gumbie Trio, while Munkustrap gathers everyone else in a loose circle around him:
Mistoffelees, who is about to embarrass himself, is also standing. Etcetera, Victoria, Electa, Jemima, and Mungojerrie are on one side, while Rumpleteazer, Cassandra, and Alonzo or on the other. Further in the back behind Alonzo are Plato and Tumblebrutus, while Coricopat and Tantomile are in the far back, in front of the car. Munk acts like he’s putting on a show for the kittens here, but several cats that are not considered kittens are also there. Also, George and Pouncival are missing. There’s always at least one missing. This is what happens when you try herding cats.
Now, jump from the beginning of the number to the end:
A bunch of cats congratulate Jenny on her performance. This includes the Gumbie Trio, with Jellylorum just offscreen, as well as Skimble and Asparagus. These are The Adults. Munkustrap also goes into this category. Asparagus, Bombalurina, Demeter, Jellylorum, Jennyanydots, Munkustrap, and Skimbleshanks are the responsible adults of the group. Jenny, Jelly, Skimble, and Asparagus come across as a bit older than the other three.
The other adult characters, as well as most of kittens and maybe kittens were part of the Beetles Tattoo and are either hanging around in the background or offstage changing. So, there’s a reason why Alonzo, Cassandra, and the Psychic Twins are missing.
Part 2: The Rum Tum Tugger
I don’t have any screenshots for this one, since I don’t feel like I really need them.
Tugger is a controversial figure among the Jellicle Cats, especially the older ones. So, his presence sorts everyone into groups.
Out of the characters usually considered adults, Bombalurina, Cassandra, and the Twins all like Tugger. In most productions I’ve scene, Demeter is also a Tugger fan, but in this production, she’s not comfortable with him. Meanwhile, Munk and Alonzo are Not Amused, but they’re calm about it. They mostly wait out the number in the background. Strangely, Alonzo is part of Tugger’s group at the ball, so maybe his feelings are a bit more mixed.
Skimble, Jelly, Jenny, and Asparagus, the oldest of the adults, are all some combination of enraged, disgusted, and horrified by Tugger’s antics. Skimble even tries to stop some of the younger cats from joining.
As for the younger characters, almost all of them love Tugger. He’s their rockstar. Mungojerrie is absent during the number, for some reason. This is odd, because he’s usually in it, often trying to copy Tugger’s moves. Here, Jerrie and Teazer, still in Beetle costumes, see Tugger show up and they both run offstage. Teazer later comes back, but Jerrie doesn’t. Maybe he did something to piss Tugger off the other day.
The only young cat against Tugger is Mistoffelees, who rolls his eyes and calls him a bore. He spends the rest of the number sulking in the corner. After the number, during the instrumental reprise, Misto gets up and joins the dance party. The older cats chase Tugger around, trying to shut everything down, and Skimble stops by Misto and seems very disappointed in him, but he no longer cares. The order of events makes it look like Misto got annoyed with Tugger for kicking a ball at him, and generally just finds him annoying, and he wants the approval of the adults, so he insults Tugger and storms off. But, when Tugger gathers his fans, pelvic thrusts in their faces, and shows off his ass, Misto pays attention, though he might’ve just been annoyed by the girls screaming. And immediately after that display, Misto joins the party. Was he convinced that Tugger isn’t a terrible bore by watching his ass?
Anyway, the young people love Tugger, the older adults don’t, and the ones in-between are split. Tugger himself plays of Bombalurina on equal footing. He isn’t just another fangirl. That means they’re probably the same age, so Tugger’s one of The Adults.
Adults: Asparagus, Bombalurina, Demeter, Jelly, Jenny, Munk, Skimble, Tugger
Younger Adults?: Alonzo, Cassandra, Coricopat, Tantomile
Kittens/Maybe Kittens: Electra, Etcetera, George, Jemima, Misto, Jerrie, Plato, Pouncival, Teazer, Tumblebrutus, Victoria
By connecting with the adults and going against Tugger, Misto might be a little older than some of the others.
This turned out to be way more exhausting to write than I thought, so I’m splitting this into parts. Part Two should at least cover Grizabella and Bustopher.