Cats: Highlights From the Motion Picture Soundtrack
Jennifer Hudson was driving when she found out that she’d be playing Grizabella in director Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic stage musical Cats, which premiered on Broadway in 1982. “I had to pull over in a parking lot when I got the call,” she tells Apple Music. “And I was like, yes! But then I said, ‘Oh my god. That means I have to sing “Memory.”’”
Hudson, of course, rises to the occasion: Her stunning vocal range breathes new life into the tousled Jellicle cat on the show’s best-known song. She joins an all-star cast of performers vying to ascend to the Heaviside layer through song and dance. Jason Derulo flexes his theatrical muscle over old-school funk and slap bass on “The Rum Tum Tugger,” while on “Macavity,” Taylor Swift (cast as Bombalurina) tells the tale of the nefarious feline (played by Idris Elba) over seductive burlesque. James Corden brings his everyman charm to the toe-tapping “Bustopher Jones: The Cat About Town.” On “The Addressing of Cats,” Dame Judi Dench gets to sing the grand finale as Old Deuteronomy. (Almost 40 years ago, Dench was forced to give up the role of Grizabella due to injury during rehearsals for the original West End production.) The movie soundtrack, like the play, introduces the competing cats one by one, updating the original songs’ ’80s bombast with a timeless orchestral flair.