The original production opened at the Winter Garden on October 7, 1982.
The Winter Garden Theatre celebrated the opening of what would become one of the most successful musicals in the history of Broadway, Cats, on October 7, 1982. Andrew Lloyd Webber's rendition of the T.S. Eliot collection of poems, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, boasted advance sales of $6.2 million before it even opened. The show had dance, special effects, no dialogue, and a diva in the making: Betty Buckley, singing its most memorable tune, "Memory."
Cats won seven Tony Awards and played in more than 250 cities around the world. By the time it closed on September 10, 2000, Cats had played 7,485 performances, far outpacing previous long-run champ A Chorus Line.
Harvey Fierstein, Tony Kushner, Edie Windsor, Lorna Luft, Lea DeLaria, Chita Rivera, Joel Grey, and George Takei were among the activists and artists who made a historic visit to the civil rights landmark.