'Cats' Musical Wiki

The Cats set is one of the most prominent features of the musical, serving as the backdrop for the entirety of the musical. It is incredibly complex, with multiple built-in entrances/exits as well as numerous platforms and levels scattered along its structure on which the actors can stand and move around on. A unique aspect of the show is that audience members are often allowed on stage to get an up-close look at the set during intermission.

The first Cats set used in the original London production, designed by John Napier, became the template for most future productions, being subsequently modified and replicated (usually by either Raymond Huessy[1] or Alan Walker) for many different productions all over the world. This article serves as a listing of all known replica sets and their distinctive characteristics; each set, despite being replicas of the original, has minute differences from the original to suit the individual requirements of each production.

Junkyard Button
Click Here for a detailed description of elements of the set.

The Individual Sets[]

Below is a listing of the sets used in major productions of Cats worldwide and their distinctive characteristics. The sets are often reused across multiple productions. Each separate Cats set typically features a unique license plate number on its car boot prop, usually named after John Napier ("NAP"). As such the sets themselves have been named after their unique number plates.

Originally, the number plates were labelled according to the order in which they were built (e.g. the second set ever to be built was "NAP 2"). For the London revival set however, the number plate was labelled "NAP 70", after John Napier and his age at the time (70).[2]

(NOTE: This list is still WIP. Further research to be added.)

NAP - Original London Production 1981-2002[]

This set was the first set ever designed and built for Cats. It was used for the original London production of Cats from 1981 to 2002. As the very first set and the template for most major productions following the original London production, this set debuted many of the distinctive design attributes seen in replica sets nowadays.

Unlike more contemporary sets, this stage lacked some notable features seen on other sets; notably, the oven was missing and the platforms/miscellaneous boxes near the tire were replaced with a simple set of stairs. Other notable features also differed slightly from contemporary sets - for instance, the NAP plate on the trunk was attached near the bottom of the trunk, as if it had worked loose, rather than mounted securely on it. The plate itself was colored black with white text reading 'NAP' in boldface - this is a reference to the older British number plates from cars built/registered before the 1970s, which the audience would have likely been familiar with (and hence being an explanation of sorts of why the car was in the junkyard - it was old, as evidenced by the plate).

The drainpipe, a favourite hang-out for Rum Tum Tugger, swivelled to also feature as the "plank" Growltiger was forced to jump from to his doom. The red corrugated iron steps that led up to the tire had to be manually removed for the ascent to the Heaviside layer. A dilapidated mattress - a feature not used in most recreations of the set - was seen prominently, this was used by Growltiger and Griddlebone, as well as used as a trampoline by Cats. The set also included several sub-stage entrances ("rabbit warrens"[3]), allowing Cats to pop up at the feet of the audience in the front row.

One unique feature of the New London set was that it was built on a revolve. The entire central stage, including the Car Boot and the tire, and the first four rows of stalls seating, were pre-set at the start of the show, rotated through approximately 120 degrees. This led to audience confusion as they took to their seats and discovered apparently very poor sight-lines. However, during the Overture, the stage moved into place, which created a sense of completion as the show began. The revolve was not used again during the performance. Partly because of this structure, the central stage space of the New London was relatively small, and the cast constantly spilled over into the aisles and among the seats of the audience.

The New London set was also built on a raked stage floor (i.e. slanted towards the audience instead of flat), which many subsequent Cats productions follow. This made the choreography even harder to pull off.

New London Theatre, London

NAP 2 - Original Broadway Production 1982-2000[]

  • Set Designer: John Napier
  • Set Design Assistant: Raymond Huessy
  • Scenery built by Theatre Techniques Associates, Metro Scenery Studio, and Hudson Scenery Studios
  • Scenery and Props painted by Nolan Scenery Studios

NAP 2 was the second set built for Cats, used for the original Broadway production from 1982 to 2000.

As the Broadway production was given a much larger budget compared to the original London production, the set itself also featured several minor differences in set from the original. Notably, the oven was introduced for the first time. The design of the NAP plate was also modified - it was mounted further up on the trunk with a more detailed design (black with silver borders and silver boldface text) and different font. The text itself was also modified to read 'NAP 2', referencing the fact that the set was the second iteration overall; this tradition was carried on in many other productions.

The Broadway production tore down the proscenium arch in the Winter Garden, removed the first seven rows of seats and extended the stage into the audience. This echoed the London production's thrust staging, with the seats bent in rainbow formation around the stage, resulting in an intimate experience with an average depth of only twenty-two rows. The back section of the set would open out to reveal a pirate boat during the "Growltiger's Last Stand" sequence.

A hole was cut into the roof of the theater and a dome was added over it, to allow for Grizabella’s journey to the Heaviside Layer. The set also had 'catwalks' (platforms) that ran through the closed off box area into the theater balcony - a feature that would be replicated in the Palladium and Broadway revivals. Numerous wide aisles were also added, each taking up the space of several rows, cutting wide paths through the seats such that no audience member was very far from an open performance space.

The Broadway set was also built on a relatively steep raked stage, similar to the London production.

Winter Garden Theater, New York

NAP 3 - Vienna 1983-1990[]

  • Set Designer: John Napier
  • Set Construction: Peter Zinner and Adolf Dinkl
  • Set Painted by Adolf Frühauf

This set was used for the Vienna 1983-1990 production. It was designed by John Napier, with some modifications made to the design again. Notably, the oven was present, following the initiative of the Broadway set (NAP 2). The number plate's design was again modified - the number plate was colored yellow with black borders and black boldface text, similarly to contemporary British number plates - this plate design would go on to be seen in many sets to follow. The number plate itself sported the text "NAP 3" in bold letters.

NAP 4 []


NAP 5[]


NAP 6[]


NAP 7 - Toronto 1985-1987[]

This set was used for the Toronto 1985-1987 production. The number plate used the yellow design reading "NAP 7", under heavy dirt and smudges.


This set was used for the Sydney 1985-1987 production and Asia Tour 2020. It was produced by Raymond Huessy. The number plate used the yellow design, reading "NAP-08" with "Huessy-6" in smaller letters below.

Sydney 1985-1987[]

Asia Tour 2020[]

HH NAP 9 - Hamburg 1986-2001[]

This set was used for the Hamburg 1986-2001 production. Notably, its number plate was based off of the then-current German numberplate design - it was white with black text with a rust/wear effect applied; this was likely done to be recognizable to and thus appeal to German audiences. The number plate itself read "HH NAP 9", the "HH" standing for "Hansestadt Hamburg" as was (and is) convention for Hamburg license plates. The stamp on the license plate read "R. Huessy".

NAP 10[]

US Tour III - 1986[]

This set was used for the 1986-1988 US Tour III. Its number plate read "NAP 10".

NAP-10 - Melbourne 1987-1988[]

This set was used for the 1987-1988 Melbourne production. Its number plate utilized the black and silver design of NAP 2 (see above), reading "NAP-10".

NAP 11[]

This set was used for the US Tour IV (from 1987) and US Tour V (from 2001) productions. It used the yellow number plate design, reading "NAP 11" as well as "HUESSY 9" below the NAP text. Above, the plate read several initials of people involved in the production.

US Tour IV - 1987[]

US Tour V - 2001[]

NAP 11A[]

US Tour V[]

This set was the first (and currently only) inflatable version of the set ever built, intended for use for tour stops which were too short to justify putting together the full replica set (NAP 11). It was used for US Tour V and the US Tour VI. This set was initially identical in design (exterior wise) to the NAP 11 set used on the same tour; however, if you look closely, stretch marks were visible on the fabric when it was fully inflated, identifying the set as an inflatable versus a full replica. For the revival tour in 2019, parts of the set were changed with properties from the NAP 70 Broadway set. The text below the "NAP" reads "HUESSY 9A".

US Tour VI[]

NAP 12[]

NAP 12 (Amsterdam)[]

This set was used for the Amsterdam productions (1987, 1988, 1992). Just like at the New London Theatre, the stage of the Theater Carré is a circle. Therefore, the set follows the design of the original London set very closely. Distinctive elements of the London set like the black, almost fallen down license plate, the painting of the backdrop and the mattress used in the Growltiger scene were incorporated. Unlike the London set, this one has the oven in it. The plate itself read "NAP 12". The theatre's first level of seats can be removed and the stage can be extended if needed. this production may be the case.

Amsterdam 1987, 1988, 1992[]

NAP 12 (UK)[]

This set was used for the UK Tour I, Zürich and Euro Tour 1994 productions. It was produced by Raymond Huessy. Its number plate is of the yellow design, reading "NAP 12" with "HUESSY 10" below. Above, the plate read several initials of people involved in the production.

UK Tour 1989[]

Zurich 1991-1993[]

NAP 14[]

NAP 14 (Paris 1989-1990)[]

This set was used for the Paris 1989-1990 production. It's based on the NAP 12 Amsterdam set and therefore, incorporates certain elements from it, e.g. the mattress used during the Growltiger number and the original black on white number plate design (both first seen on the original NAP set). The number plate read "NAP 14".

NAP 14 (UK Tour 1993-1995)[]

This set was used for the UK Tour II production. It was reproduced by Raymond Huessy. Its numberplate was of the yellow design, reading "NAP 14" with Huessy's name below and initials of people involved above.

Notably, elements from this set were incorporated into the TSE 1 set used for the filmed production of Cats (see below).

NAP 15[]

This set was used for the Antwerp 1996, Stuttgart 2001, Berlin 2002-2004, Düsseldorf 2004-2005, and German Tour 2005-2006. The set was produced by Raymond Huessy. When Cats transferred from Stuttgart to Berlin, Christoph Weyers altered and updated the set. Its number plate reads "NAP 15" with "HUESSY 11" in smaller text beneath and initials of people involved above.

Notably, elements from this set were incorporated into the TSE 1 set used for the filmed production of Cats (see below).

Antwerp 1996[]

Stuttgart 2001-2002[]

Berlin 2002-2004[]

Düsseldorf 2004-2005[]

German Tour 2005-2006[]

TSE 1 - Film 1997[]

This set consisted of various elements from sets NAP 14 and 15 (see above). It was assembled especially for the filmed version of Cats. Its number plate was of the yellow design, reading "TSE 1" in honor of T.S. Eliot, the writer of the original poems; however, on a few shots, the older plate from NAP 15 can be seen instead of the TSE-1 plate.

Adelphi Theater, London

NAP 16[]

This set was used for the UK Tour 2003, Brazil 2010, and UK Tour 2013 productions. It was built by Raymond Huessy and produced by Scena Pro. Its number plate was of the yellow design, reading NAP 16 in bold letters, with "HUESSY12" below and random letters above the NAP text in smaller font.

UK Tour 2003-2009[]

Brazil 2010[]

UK Tour 2013-2014[]

NAP 17[]

This set was used for the Madrid 2003-2005, Moscow 2005-2006, and Dutch Tour 2006-2007 productions. It was produced by Christoph Weyers. Its number plate wsa of the yellow design, reading "NAP 17" in bold letters, with "WEYERS 2 AW" in smaller text beneath (the AW standing for Alan Walker).

Madrid 2003-2005[]

Moscow 2005-2006[]

Dutch Tour 2006-2007[]

NAP 18 - Oasis of the Seas 2014-2020[]

This set was used for the Royal Caribbean/Oasis of the Seas production. It was reproduced by Alan Walker. Its number plate is of the yellow design, reading NAP 18.

NAP 19 - German Tent Tour 2010-2013[]

This set was used for the German Tent Tour 2010-2013 production. It was reproduced by Alan Walker. Its number plate is of the yellow design, reading "NAP 19". Curiously, NAP 19 was produced four years before NAP 18.

NAP 70[]

There have been two sets used concurrently using the "NAP 70" plate.

NAP 70 (London / Broadway)[]

This set was used for the London Palladium (2014), Blackpool/London (2015), and Broadway Revival (2016) productions. It was created under the supervision of Alan Walker.

The set itself primarily consists of modified elements from other sets, mostly from NAP 19 but also from NAP 16 as well as some additional material. Its number plate is of the yellow design, reading "NAP 70", the 70 being in honour of John Napier, it's designer's, 70th birthday. The text "Gritty Kitty G.B." is present in smaller text below the NAP number. Notably, its 'catwalks' run all the way up to the mezzanine/stalls of the theater, with hidden entrances present; the exact location of the catwalks are dependent on the venue in question (for instance, in the London Palladium production they ran through the closed off box area). Similar to the original London and Broadway productions, this set was used on raked stages.

London Palladium 2014-2015[]

For this production, the set's 'catwalks' (platforms) ran through the closed off box area into the theater mezzanine/stalls. The stage floor also contained hidden pyrotechnics for use during Mistoffelees's dance number.

Blackpool 2015[]

London 2015-2016[]

Broadway 2016-2017[]

For the Broadway production, the set was slightly altered by Alan Walker. In this production, the catwalks of the set ran up along the edges of the theater wall to the mezzanine of the theater.

NAP 70 (Paris)[]

This set was used for the 2015 Paris production. For this set, Alan Walker replicated the London Palladium set, down to the same number plate design and lettering (NAP 70/Gritty Kitty G.B.); however, a few minute differences are noticeable between the two sets, such as the number plate having visibly less of a 'worn' effect to it than the original NAP 70 (see above). The 2019 Vienna production appears to be using this set as well.

Paris 2015-2016[]

Vienna 2019[]

NAP 13R - International UK Tour 2016-2020[]

This set is currently being used for the International UK Tour (2016-2020) production. It was produced under the supervision of Alan Walker. The number plate is of the yellow design, reading "NAP13R" (referencing John Napier in Leet) with the text "Gritty Kitty" below it in smaller text. The stage floor of this set contains hidden pyrotechnics for use during Mistoffelees's dance number.

Japanese Productions[]

The Japanese production does not follow the convention of labelling the number plate "NAP" after John Napier.

Tokyo set number plate 2018

Number plate in the Tokyo 2018 set

Tokyo 2004[]

Yokohama 2009[]

The Canon Cats Theatre was purpose-built for this production. It used a revolving stage similar to the original London production.[4]

Sendai 2013[]

Cats played at the Tokyo Electron Hall Miyagi in Sendai in 2013. The set consisted of 2,500 oversized trash pile items which, as is typical of the Japanese production, contained many local Miyagi references. These included props of the regional food specialities "Sasa Kamaboko" and "Hagi no Tsuki", plush toys of the region's tourism campaign mascot "Musubimaru", jerseys from the local sports teams Vegalta Sendai and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, and customised Cats Kokeshi dolls.[5]

Fukuoka 2014[]

Sapporo 2015[]

Osaka 2016[]

Tokyo 2018[]

This set was designed by Shigeaki Tsuchiya (土屋茂昭氏) for the purpose-built CATS Theatre in Tokyo, and consists of 3,000 oversized junkyard items. The Tokyo set is built on a revolve as in the original New London set, such that the central stage and the first four rows of seating revolve 180 degrees during the overture. The revolving stage hadn't been used in the Japanese production since the 2009 Yokohama Canon Cats Theatre.[6]

As is typical of the Japanese production, there are many local references in the oversized trash pile items, including a jersey from the local sports team Yomiuri Giants, a pass case from the local television programme "ZIP!", a figurine of Tokyo Tower, plush toys of local mascots "Sora Jiro" (そらジロー) and "Cinnamoroll" (シナモロール), local brands like Tokyo Banana, a ticket stub for the Shinagawa Aquarium, and commuter passes from the local railway system.[7]

Australian Productions[]

The Australian productions initially followed the convention of labelling individual sets with number plates, for the Sydney 1985 - 1987(NAP-08) and Melbourne 1987 - 1989 (NAP-10) productions. However since then the number plates have changed based on the location or production.

NAP 15 / NAP 8 (Australia)[]

This set was used for the Asia-Pacific Tour (2007-2010), Asia Tour (2014-2015), and Australia/New Zealand Tour (2015-2016). Its number plate was of the yellow design, and originally had localised alphanumeric IDs for each venue the tour visited (e.g. J-AR 12); however, for the 2015 AU/NZ tour, the plate was changed to read "NAP 15", the 15 representing the year 2015. It is worth noting that this set is not related in any way to the previous, older NAP 15 set (see above).

The NAP 15 set was modified and the number plate changed to "NAP 8" for the 2017 Asia Tour.

Chinese Production[]

The set for the 2012-2014 Chinese production customised the number plate for every city it played in. For example, the plate number had the "京" Beijing prefix when it played in Beijing, the "沪" Shanghai prefix when it played in Shanghai, and the "桂A" Nanning prefix when it played in Nanning.