Bill Bailey is an ensemble character in Cats. He is a playful and acrobatic tom kitten.
|“||Chaotic, Imprudent, Funny||”|
|“||Acrobat, dancer, singer. Must be able to perform a variety of acrobatics, including a series of flicflacs and saltos.||”|
Bill Bailey is principally the main acrobat of the cast, as well as being a dance role. He is rarely centre stage, but often pulls focus with his tumbling antics in the background. The character usually has a few vocal lines in the group numbers.
"Bill Bailey" is mentioned in "The Naming of Cats" as one of the "sensible, everyday names". Literary scholars believe that the name was conceived by T S Eliot for a cat that likes to stray from home, inspired by the popular 1902 song "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey".
The following names have also been used for the character of Bill Bailey in various international productions:
Bill Bailey is a white and brown patched tom cat, often depicted in the show as a kitten. Of all the Cats with dual names/personalities, his appearance remains the most consistent, having a distinctive brown patch over one eye, and brown patches on his right shoulder and left hip.
For fandom headcanons and theories, CLICK HERE.
- Bill Bailey/Tumblebrutus often takes the final bow of the show by tumbling across the stage.
- The name "Bill Bailey" is used for the ensemble identity of Rum Tum Tugger in the Broadway revival, and is unrelated to this ensemble character.
- Imperial Names for 'Practical Cats': Establishing a Distinctly British Pride in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Dorothy Dodge Robbins. 12 November 2013.
- London Cast List, May 1981