Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats," London's longest-running musical, is set to close after 21 years. The show will close May 11 -- its 21st birthday -- after 9,000 performances in London's West End, its pr

Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats," London's longest-running musical, is set to close after 21 years. The show will close May 11 -- its 21st birthday -- after 9,000 performances in London's West End, its producers said today (Jan. 15).

Adapted from T.S. Eliot's whimsical verses in "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," the London production has earned $197 million at the box office and been seen by more than 8 million people. The show has been performed in more than 300 cities in 26 countries to a global audience of 50 million. New York's version of "Cats," Broadway's long-run champ, notched 7,485 performances over almost two decades by the time it closed in September 2000.

The show's best-known number, "Memory," was a British top-10 hit and has been played more than 2 million times on U.S. radio stations.

"Cats" is the latest long-running musical to close in London, where theaters have been hit by a fall in the number of tourists, especially from the United States, since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Lloyd Webber's "Starlight Express" -- a roller-skating spectacular dubbed "Cats on tracks" -- closed Saturday after an 18-year run.

The world's longest-running musical, the off-Broadway stalwart "The Fantasticks," closed in New York on Sunday after almost 42 years and 17,162 performances.


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