The character Munkustrap, who serves as a narrator in the musical, explains the purpose of the festive occasion to the audience.
“Jellicle Cats meet once a year
At the Jellicle Ball where we all rejoice
And the Jellicle Leader will soon appear
And make what is known as the Jellicle Choice
When 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
For waiting up there is the Heaviside Layer
Full of wonders one Jellicle only will see
And Jellicles ask because Jellices dare.
Who will it be?
Who will it be?”
At the end of the musical, Wise Old Deueronomy (played by Ken Page) announces which cat has the honor of being reborn. Just a few of the cats we get to know through their solo numbers include the saucy Rum Tum Tugger, magical Mr. Mistoffelees, the worn out Grizabella, old Gus the Theatre Cat, Bustopher Jones, and Jennyanydots, the busybody Gumbie cat.
Do you know who it will be?
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, the second longest-running Broadway musical (only surpassed by Lloyd Webber’s own The Phantom of the Opera), and fourth longest-running West End musical, returns in high definition and digital sound to Great Performances where it had its 1998 world television premiere. The special encore presentation will air Friday, November 21 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.