|“||But when the day's hustle and bustle is done, then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.||”|
Jennyanydots is a featured character in the musical Cats. Known among the tribe as the "Gumbie Cat", she spends her days lazing around, but come nighttime, she gets to work running the household while the family are asleep.
|“||Motherly, Controlling, Contented||”|
Jennyanydots is a kind, doting, motherly character. She spends her days sitting on "anything that's smooth and flat", but come nighttime is up and about running the household. She humbly works while the family are asleep, oblivious to her contributions.
She takes a vested interest in the well-being of not only the other cats, but even the mice, cockroaches and beetles, all of whom she has taken under her wing. She is well-versed in various household skills such as knitting, crocheting, and tatting, and passes these skills on to her charges.
While usually cheerful and good-humoured, Jennyanydots has a bossier side, even commanding a military-style Beetles' Tattoo to keep the household pests in line. However, even when one of her charges messes up, she never stays in a bad mood for long.
|“||Jennyanydots is the 'Gumbie Cat'. Motherly, an Edwardian 'do-gooder'. For this role, we require a character actress and very strong singer (to high Db) who must have strong tap dancing skills. Great comedy skills and good movement needed. Playing age 25 – 45.||”|
Jennyanydots takes centerstage in her own song, where she leads the ensemble in an elaborate tap dance routine. She has a significant vocal part in "Bustopher Jones", being the cat to introduce the titular Bustopher. In some 1980s/1990s European productions, notably those based on Vienna, Jennyanydots also doubled as Griddlebone for the Growltiger sequence.
Throughout the musical, she is often seen trying to keep the younger cats in line, scolding them when they misbehave and keeping them away from Grizabella. Although initially disapproving of Grizabella, Jennyanydots comes to touch and accept her by the end of the show.
In the original London production, Judi Dench was double-cast as both Jennyanydots and Grizabella. The story of how Elaine Paige replaced her as Grizabella is well known, but at the same time Myra Sands stepped up from an ensemble role to play Jennyanydots throughout the show. Myra was originally slated to play a role named Electra who would sing what later became Demeter's part in "The Old Gumbie Cat" and Jennyanydots' part in "Bustopher Jones". After Myra took over the role of Jennyanydots, the original Electra costume design was re-named and became Jennyanydots' ensemble costume, indicating that Jennyanydots was originally not slated to have an ensemble presence, much as Bustopher Jones is only seen during his song. Meanwhile, the name "Electra" was eventually given to a kitten character.
|“||So far in my experience there are cheifly [sic] 4 kinds of Cat the Old Gumbie Cat the Practical Cat the Porpentine Cat and the Big Bravo Cat; I suspect that yours is a Bravo Cat by the looks of things.||”|
— Eliot, 4 November 1934
The following names have also been used for the character of Jennyanydots in various international productions:
- Jenny Fleckenreich
- Jenny Fleckenfell
- Annu Pannunen
- Amélie Ron Ron
- Tulle Tusindplet
- Csilló Pallaold - a Gimb-Gömb Macska (Hungarian) Csilló Pallaold for Jennyanydots and Gimb-Gömb for Gumbie.
- Vickiprickigtass (Swedish) - a blend of Vicki (girl's name), prickig ("spotted") and tass ("paw")
- Sofa-kat (Danish) - meaning "sofa cat"
Jennyanydots is a gingery tabby with white markings. Her unitard is orange, black and white, her wig is often a bright ginger in London-based productions, but a softer mix of ginger, blonde and brown in others. Her ears are formed by rolls in her wig, rather than the more usual tied ears or the suggestion of ears in a fan shape.
Jennyanydots' song costume consists of an enormous, rounded knitted coat with a spotted pattern and a hat. Underneath she wears a fringed orange, yellow and white fringed tap costume.
For fandom headcanons and theories, CLICK HERE.