'Cats' Musical Wiki
Advertisement

"Magical Mister Mistoffelees" is a song celebrating the titular Mr. Mistoffelees and his magical feats. The number is usually sung solo by Rum Tum Tugger, although Mistoffelees also sings in some versions.

Context

After Macavity has been fought off by the tribe, they are left in the dark and without their leader, Old Deuteronomy, who had been kidnapped earlier. As they ponder over how to find him, Rum Tum Tugger suggests they call upon Mr. Mistoffelees for help. As the Jellicles are not inclined to take Tugger seriously, he performs the song in an attempt to convince them of Mistoffelees' magical abilities. Mistoffelees himself enters, descending from the ceiling, and uses his powers to restore the lights and perform various magical feats. By the end of the song, the Jellicles are convinced of his powers and, to everyone's relief, he conjures back Old Deuteronomy, typically with the assistance of Cassandra. For the final repeated chorus, the audience is usually invited to join in the jubilant celebration, with the cast leaving the stage to interact and sing along with them.

"Magical Mister Mistoffelees" is typically a dance showcase for the actor playing Mistoffelees. The role was created by renown ballet dancer Wayne Sleep, and the original choreography features his signature moves. Mistoffelees performs some of the most difficult choreography in the show, including his signature "Conjuring Turn" consisting of 24 consecutive fouettés en tournant (or pirouettes à la seconde). Dancers cast in the role generally have extensive ballet and gymnastic experience.

The number is also an opportunity to showcase intricate lighting design as well as the multiple special effects hidden around the set such as pyrotechnics and trap doors.

History

The lyrics for "Mr. Mistoffelees" are taken from the T S Eliot poem of the same name from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939). The song is usually sung by Tugger as a solo, with Mistoffelees' dance break taking place in between the first and second verses. However in some Broadway-based productions, Mistoffelees sings the second verse, either by himself or as a back-and-forth with Tugger. In these productions, the dance break occurs after the second verse instead. The 1998 film uses the version sung only by Tugger, but cuts out some parts of the song including the Conjuring Turn.

During the number, Cassandra is typically chosen by Mistoffelees to help him bring back Old Deuteronomy, though productions in the 1980s/1990s often used other cats such as Bombalurina or Tumblebrutus to fill this role as well.

In productions that featured the Street Cat version of Tugger, there was a short rap at the end of the song that replaced Rock Star Tugger's vocal riffs.

Music

"Magical Mister Mistoffelees" is a lively song, with funk-pop verses that give way to the straightforward cheeriness of the chorus. The celebratory refrains at the end are amplified by the trumpet fanfare theme, adding to the triumphant mood.[1]

The song is set in the 4/4 time signature and has a tempo of 84 beats per minute.[2] It is composed in the key of F major, and the chorus follows a chord progression of F-C/E-Gm7-C7-F-F/A-Bb-Bb/C. Tugger's vocals span from C4 to E5.

Trumpet fanfare during the repeated chorus of "Magical Mister Mistoffelees"

Lyrics

You ought to ask magical Mr Mistoffelees
The original conjuring cat
There can be no doubt about that
Please listen to me and don't scoff
All his inventions are off his own bat

There's no such cat in the metropolis
He holds all the patent monopolies
For performing surprising illusions
And creating eccentric confusions

The greatest magicians have something to learn
From Mr Mistoffelees' Conjuring Turn!

And we all say
"Oh! Well, I never!
Was there ever a cat so clever as
Magical Mr Mistoffelees?"

He is quiet, he is small, he is black
From his ears to the tip of his tail
He can creep through the tiniest crack
He can walk on the narrowest rail

He can pick any card from a pack
He is equally cunning with dice
He is always deceiving you into believing
That he's only hunting for mice

He can play any trick with a cork
Or a spoon and a bit of fish paste
If you look for a knife or a fork
And you think it is merely misplaced

You have seen it one moment,
And then it is gone!
But you'll find it next week
Lying out on the lawn

And we all say
"Oh! Well, I never!
Was there ever a cat so clever as
Magical Mr Mistoffelees?"

(Presto!)

"Oh! Well, I never!
Was there ever a cat so clever as
Magical Mr Mistoffelees?"

(chorus is repeated several times)

His manner is vague and aloof
You would think there was nobody shyer
But his voice has been heard on the roof
When he was curled up by the fire

And he's sometimes been heard by the fire
When he was about on the roof
At least, we all heard that somebody purred
Which is incontestable proof

Of his singular magical powers
And I've known the family to call
Him in from the garden for hours
While he was asleep in the hall

And, not long ago, this phenomenal cat
Produced seven kittens right out of a hat!

And we all say,
"Oh! Well, I never!
Was there ever a cat so clever as
Magical Mr Mistoffelees?"

"Oh! Well, I never!
Was there ever a cat so clever as
Magical Mr Mistoffelees?"

(chorus is repeated several times)

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I give you:
The magical,
The marvellous,
Mr Mistoffelees!

Street Cat Rap

Forget all the rest but my bestie in black
He's got a whole host of tricks falling out of his hat
He saved the day, he brought Old Deut back
Everybody raise it up, magi-coolest cat

(x 2)

Oh yes, indeed
Nobody better than Mistoffelees

International Versions

Audio

Street Cat Tugger:

Note: .ogg files cannot be played on iOS devices

Video

Gallery

References

  1. The Megamusical, Indiana University Press (2006). Pages 147, 151. ISBN 978-0-253-34793-0.
  2. Cats: Songs from the Musical, Hal Leonard (May 1, 1982). Page 97. ISBN 978-0881882001.
Advertisement