'Cats' Musical Wiki

The famous song "Memory" is first heard at the very end of Act 1. This version is a prelude to the full Act 2 version of the song. Grizabella sings alone as she laments her current plight.


Halfway through the "Jellicle Ball", the tribe notice Grizabella watching, and chase her off. At the end of the Ball, Grizabella re-appears to a reprise of "Grizabella the Glamour Cat". The younger cats are confused, some reaching out to her in sympathy, some cruelly teasing her, but the adults prevent them from getting too close to her. The cats slink away, leaving Grizabella alone, apart from Old Deuteronomy watching in the distance.

Alone, Grizabella tries to capture some of the magic of the Ball, but she is too old, trying to dance is painful, and alone, it is pointless. She sings a short version of "Memory". During this song, she is left contemplating the "memory" of the time before she left the tribe. But afterwards she shakes herself as if to regain her strength and dignity. As she is leaving, she stops, and reaches back, as if she knows someone is reaching out to her... Old Deuteronomy is reaching toward her from the far corner of the junkyard, but she does not turn around. Again, she pulls herself together and leaves. She is still not accepted by the tribe.


Originally in the 1981 London production, this number opened with a verse sung by Demeter, which led straight into "Memory". When the show transferred to Broadway in 1982, Demeter's verse was moved to accompany Grizabella's first entrance in "Grizabella the Glamour Cat". In return, a reprise of "Grizabella the Glamour Cat", sung by Jellylorum and Jemima/Sillabub, was added to the start of this number. This reprise was incorporated into all replica productions (including London) in the 1980s and 1990s, but has been cut from most productions since the early 2000s.

The Palladium revival added to this scene, giving the star Nicole Scherzinger a few more seconds onstage. Her attempts to dance were extended, with extra music written. Rather than performing as old, stiff and pained, new Grizabella has a vivid scar on her forehead. She gets swept away in her dance, twirling around and laughing until she stumbles and presses her hand to her head as if the scar pains her.


As Grizabella enters, her familiar ground bass motif strikes up in A minor, setting the dark and gloomy mood. An English horn joins in with a forlorn tune and this leads into the short reprise of "Grizabella the Glamour Cat". The other cats clear the stage and Grizabella, now alone, attempts to imitate the dance she saw them do earlier. She is accompanied by a loose, poignant interpretation of the instrumental opening of "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats", played here mostly by clarinet.[1]

Next, the orchestra previews "Memory" for the first time (see here for more details on "Memory" specifically). In modern productions, this is in A major, and her imitation of the dance is in A minor, whereas in older productions (and the 1998 movie), this is all in Bb minor and Bb major, like Memory in Act 2. Grizabella sings two verses and a bridge section. As she finishes, the orchestra quietly sends her off with the two-phrase form of the recurring Jellicle theme.[1]


Grizabella Reprise[]

You see the border of her coat is torn and stained with sand,

And you see the corner of her eye twists like a crooked pin.


Silence (alt - Midnight)
Not a sound from the pavement,
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight, the withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan.

Every street-lamp seems to beat
A fatalistic warning,
Someone mutters, and the street-lamp gutters,
And soon it will be morning.

All alone in the moonlight,
I can smile at the old days,
I was beautiful then.
I remember, the time I knew what happiness was,
Let the memory live again

International Versions[]


With Demeter's verse:

With "Grizabella" reprise:




  1. 1.0 1.1 The Megamusical, Indiana University Press (2006). Pages 158-160. ISBN 978-0-253-34793-0.