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'Cats' came back: Lloyd Webber musical returning to London stage with hip-hop twist

Performers in Cats costumes pose for the photographers during a photo-op to promote the return of British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats the musical return to London, Monday, July 7, 2014. British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2nd right, director Trevor Nunn, 3 right, and choreographer Gillian Lynne, right, look on. The show, based on T.S Eliot's 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats', will return to the West End for a limited 12-week run from Dec, 2014. Cats, one of the longest-running shows in West End and on Broadway, received its world premiere in London in 1981 where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances. According to its creators Cats has been presented in over 26 countries, has been translated into 10 languages and has been seen by over 50 million people world-wide. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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Performers in Cats costumes pose for the photographers during a photo-op to promote the return of British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats the musical return to London, Monday, July 7, 2014. British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2nd right, director Trevor Nunn, 3 right, and choreographer Gillian Lynne, right, look on. The show, based on T.S Eliot's 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats', will return to the West End for a limited 12-week run from Dec, 2014. Cats, one of the longest-running shows in West End and on Broadway, received its world premiere in London in 1981 where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances. According to its creators Cats has been presented in over 26 countries, has been translated into 10 languages and has been seen by over 50 million people world-wide. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

LONDON - "Cats" is back — and now one of the felines raps.

Andrew Lloyd Webber announced Monday that his hit musical will return to London's West End in December in a revamped production with a hip-hop flavour.

Based on T.S. Eliot's whimsical "Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats," the musical opened in London in 1981, running for 21 years there and 18 years on Broadway.

Lloyd Webber said Monday he had tweaked parts of the show, which has been performed in more than 30 countries.

Lloyd Webber said he was making the character of Rum Tum Tugger a rapping street cat because "I've come to the conclusion that ... maybe Eliot was the inventor of rap."

"The thing about the Eliot verse is that you can tell he's American. Nobody other than Eliot would have written 'The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat,'" the composer said.

The new production reunites the original creative team of director Trevor Nunn, choreographer Gillian Lynne and designer John Napier.

It runs at London's Palladium for 12 weeks beginning Dec. 6.

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