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dclary
05-01-2009, 06:51 PM
Which is the better "everyone's dressed up like an animal" musical?

Cats is the perennial classic, but has no real "story."
Lion King has a very cool story.

Lion King has some fantastic songs (although this is a tie because Cats' songs are fabulous too).

Cats just has everyone in really sexy, slinky, catsuits. The Lion King has some amazing innovative costumes that turn people into giraffes, monkeys, etc.

Which is your favorite?

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-01-2009, 09:34 PM
I have to confess... The Lion King. Those costumes are just... incredible. Don't get me wrong... Liked Cats. But... Lion King. Yeah. Lion King.

DeleyanLee
05-01-2009, 09:44 PM
I have to go with Cats. I was far more dazzled when I saw it than I was the Lion King. I'm more caught up with the music from Cats than TLK too.

I just never took to the story of TLK, even from the movie. I didn't like the message it taught my kids: Run away from big problems until you're absolutely pressed up against the wall and everything counts on you. Running away only teaches you to run away, not how to handle problems. When something's aimed at kids, that makes a difference to me. Elton John songs just don't make up for it (not that I'm a big Elton John fan to start with). Whereas Cats just promises to be happy mindless entertainment for kids & adults, which it delivers.

jmascia
05-01-2009, 10:05 PM
LION KING!!
Not only is it the best for costumes and characters, but other than Les Miserables it is the best Broadway show ever!

nevada
05-01-2009, 10:06 PM
i saw a bit of cats on PBS and it was boooooringgggg *yawn* so i'd have to go with the lion king. what i've seen of it rocked.

Pomegranate
05-01-2009, 10:10 PM
Lion King. No contest.

Wavy_Blue
05-02-2009, 11:06 AM
I could gone on about this for hours. Er...I'm kind of a musicals freak, so bear with me.

Lion King. It isn't even a competition. Allow me to elucidate.

For one, Andrew Lloyd Webber was the composer for Cats. ALW composed several other massively popular shows, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This is why he is famous, but not why he is infamous. ALW is infamous for four main characteristics in his music: pastiche, allusion, modeling, and borrowing. I won't go into the details, but all of these indicate some form of recycling and reusing other ideas. ALW's creative juices are not the most prolific. People often think that he has outright stolen much of his work. Listen to Pink Floyd's Echoes album, and then listen to the main theme from Phantom of the Opera. Hear a similarity? It's not rocket science. The man is a plagarist, but denies everything.

Furthermore, ALW's "original work" is not impressive at all. He composes music not for his own artistic stimulation. He composes songs in a pop style that he knows will appeal to broad audience because he wants to make money. This is his goal. He could care less about artistic integrity. This is one of the reasons that musicals like Phantom and Cats are so successful with non-musical crowds. But broad appeal does not equal quality. Not even in the least bit.

Among the musical-literate, ALW is often regarded as a joke (as are Schnonberg and Boubil of Les Miserables fame). His musicals are shallow and built ENTIRELY on spectacle. Cats was, after all, the first megamusical. And that, my friends, is not necessarily a good thing. It's composers like Stephen Sondheim--not very well known to non-musical population, but HIGHLY regarded as the GREATEST American composer-lyricist of all time. His shows are rich and complex, and rather than composing purely more monetary gain, he composes things that he is interested in doing. He isn't afraid of exploring human darkness, which is something that ALW would never consider because it isn't "popular".

A musical should also have meaning. Cats has no meaning. When asked what was the true meaning of Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber replied, "It's about Cats." That's it. No meaning. It's merely there to entertain an audience with mediocre music and fancy costumes. Its a vehicle for money.

On the otherhand, while The Lion King is not anywhere near the rich complexity of Stephen Sondheim, it has a heart: something that is consistantly lacking from ALW's shows. TLK is a megamusical as well, but it is highly conceptualized. Disney was very precarious about making the costumes too unlike the film version because they were worried when people came to see the show they would be expecting to see Simba and Nala and Zazu exactly how they looked in the movie. However, Julie Taymor completely reinvented the costumes and accomplished a high art of costume far superior to any previous effort in musical theatre history. It is easy to say that her costumes are the best of all time. It creates a whole new experience, yet doesn't alienate the original Disney audience. On the other hand, Cats' costumes are boring and uninspired. What, spandex with puffballs glued on? Not so remarkable.

The music of Tim Rice and Elton John is not the best of Disney's repertoire, but it is FAR superior to anything ALW has managed to rip off--ahem, I mean, compose. And the additional songs are fantastic supplements to the story.

Anyway, back to that having a heart thing. Disney knows how to make a pretty penny, but the company had stuck with Walt's ideal to produce quality family entertainment. The Lion King was their greatest success with animated film. The film was not created to generate revenue. In fact, Disney thought that TLK would not be very successful and that Pocahontas would actually be the more box-office happy of the two. The Lion King was created to tell a compelling story, and teaches both the young and the old a lesson--you can't run away from the past, and remember who you are. This sentiment carries over into the stage version.

Both shows are very successful. It's useless to compare runs, since The Lion King is still running. It might not become the longest running musical ever (Phantom will have to close before that ever happens, even though Phantom was well do for its closing ten years ago), but it is certainly the better of the two. Popularity does not equate quality, especially in the musical theatre world. And the more you become aware of works like that of Stephen Sondheim, the more you realize the folly of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lion King is somewhere in the middle of this, but even true musical theatre scholars can appreciate The Lion King. They never, however, appreciate Cats.

Besides. "Memory"? What's that? Worst song of the decade? I couldn't agree more!

...sorry, got a little carried away there! ;)

8thSamurai
05-06-2009, 07:36 PM
It's kind of like comparing pinapples to zebras...

BenPanced
05-06-2009, 07:50 PM
If those are my choices, I'm going to go with Chicago.

dclary
05-06-2009, 08:36 PM
If those are my choices, I'm going to go with Chicago.

You want to make a chicago thread, you go right ahead. this thread is for comparison of anthromorphicals. Thread derailer!

Toothpaste
05-06-2009, 08:36 PM
Can I say Sweeney Todd?

Honestly they are both products of the time they were created, kind of hard to compare, just because they are both musicals and feature cats . . . sort of . . . I love the junkyard putting a show together using props aspect of Cats, the puppetry of the Lion King. Neither feature music I'm particularly fond of.

DeleyanLee - that's interesting that you saw that as the moral. Totally not what I saw at all. You see I saw it as "running away doesn't solve your problems, eventually you will have to face them". Simba runs away thinking this will solve everything, and he doesn't need to go back, he's found a wonderful paradise that will keep him happy until he dies. But he realises that he can't just abandon the people (animals) that he loved, his family, etc. That he has a responsibility, and so finally he goes back. To me that's not such a bad moral really, "We have responsibilities, and we have to face up to them."

ETA: Btw, I was a young teenager when I saw The Lion King for the first time, and the above is the exact message I got, so obviously some kids are seeing the good moral of the story. I never looked at it ever as you did.

MDei
05-07-2009, 07:07 AM
I have to go with Cats. I was far more dazzled when I saw it than I was the Lion King. I'm more caught up with the music from Cats than TLK too.

I just never took to the story of TLK, even from the movie. I didn't like the message it taught my kids: Run away from big problems until you're absolutely pressed up against the wall and everything counts on you. Running away only teaches you to run away, not how to handle problems. When something's aimed at kids, that makes a difference to me. Elton John songs just don't make up for it (not that I'm a big Elton John fan to start with). Whereas Cats just promises to be happy mindless entertainment for kids & adults, which it delivers.

It's not teaching kids to run away from problems. It's te exact opposite. It's teaching them that it's better to face your problems than to run away because either way you always has to deal with them later. It also sends the message that sometimes facing a situation is painful but you have to get through the pain to see to the reward at the end. Then it help a person to realize that they have to accept who they are because they can never run away from that person ever. It's always there. I won't say anything else. i could go on forever about the lessons in that movie, but I won't.

And besides, children don't even see into the depth of things when they're young. They hardly see into it when they're teenagers. I wouldn't worry about, even if that's what you think. My sisters only knew the songs and learned to "be prepared".

Anyway, quite obviously, I think Lion King took the crown.

Delhomeboy
05-07-2009, 07:42 AM
The Lion King, although, I have to say, in the play having the guy roar on Pride Rock was kind of...lame.

And on a side note, that whole segment in TLK when Rafiki says to Simba: "He lives...in you," still gives me chills. Dunno why, because the line itself is pretty cliche, but I think the way it led up to it makes it so powerful...man, I need to go watch TLK again.

And on another side note, why does Disney feel the need to tarnish their classic movies by churning out less than stellar sequels that only are there to make money?

MDei
05-09-2009, 06:44 AM
And on another side note, why does Disney feel the need to tarnish their classic movies by churning out less than stellar sequels that only are there to make money?

Don't I know it. Comparing the first one to the second one was like, no comparison. I think they really could have delved more into Kovu and Kiara's character and the way it went, it should have focused more on Kovu trying to find a path toward redemption ad finding himself than on Kiara. I didn't like her character much. She had no depth.

mscelina
05-09-2009, 06:52 AM
The Lion King is a Disney movie made into a musical. having worked for Hitler Youth...erm...I mean...Disney, I am fundamentally incapable of liking ANY Disney product. Ever.

Cats is, at least, a theatrical production written solely for the stage by one of the greatest contemporary composers. For me there's a huge difference in how the two shows are portrayed.

That being said, I hate them both. But if I have to pick one I hate less, it's going to be Cats. Cats was a groundbreaker-the first show where all of the characters were animals. It set the stage for an explosion of big budget musicals on Broadway in an era when musicals were thought to be dead. It ran forever. Some of our greatest Broadway stars got their start in Cats. It was a seamless blend of music, dance and acting.

So despite the fact that I don't like a single darn song in it, I've going to have to go for the piece that was actually a stage play from the beginning and not a huge entertainment conglomerate's attempt to bank more roll off a successful animated feature film. I pick Cats.

dclary
05-09-2009, 12:47 PM
You don't even like...

Skimbleshanks the Railway cat....


The only song I know written in 15/16ths time?

Wavy_Blue
05-10-2009, 09:11 AM
The Lion King is a Disney movie made into a musical. having worked for Hitler Youth...erm...I mean...Disney, I am fundamentally incapable of liking ANY Disney product. Ever.

I know scores of people who have worked for Disney and love it all the more because of their experience. You sound like an anomaly.



Cats is, at least, a theatrical production written solely for the stage by one of the greatest contemporary composers. For me there's a huge difference in how the two shows are portrayed.

Greatest contemporary composers? You're joking, right? Andrew Lloyd Webber, also known as "I recycle my own musical garbage and "borrow" music from other sources as the main source of my musical output for reasons completely based around monetary gain", is by by far one of the WORST contemporary composers. Stephen Sondheim, Jason Robert Brown, Adam Guettel, Steven Schwartz, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Stephen Flaherty, William Finn, Alan Menken, Maury Yeston, and John Kander are all contemporary composers far superior to Andrew Lloyd Webber, just to name a few.



That being said, I hate them both. But if I have to pick one I hate less, it's going to be Cats. Cats was a groundbreaker-the first show where all of the characters were animals. It set the stage for an explosion of big budget musicals on Broadway in an era when musicals were thought to be dead. It ran forever. Some of our greatest Broadway stars got their start in Cats. It was a seamless blend of music, dance and acting.

You seem to be a little confused here. Cats did not "revive" the musical. A Chorus Line did, a whole seven years prior to Cats' opening on Broadway. And there was not dead air between the two: Chicago, Annie, Ain't Misbehavin', Sweeney Todd, Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 42nd Street, The Pirates of Penzance (acclaimed Kevin Kline version), Dreamgirls, Nine, and Little Shop of Horrors all opened between these two shows, and these are some of the most popular of all Broadway musicals. Also, this was not the first Webber blockbuster to hit Broadway. Evita, in fact, went up against Sweeney Todd, which is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of musical theatre, in the Tony's. Cats unleashed the Megamusical on Broadway--a West End invention hellbent on making money and wowing audiences with spectacle instead of artistic integrity and meaning.

And I'm not really sure why you seem to be insinuating that the debut of the big budget musical is a good thing. It's not. It's what's created the current state of Broadway--corporate musicals. Artistic integrity is very difficult to find on today's Broadway. You also seem to under the impression that Cats is a fully integrated musical, which it is not. There is no story line. It is concept musical, and a shabby one at that.



So despite the fact that I don't like a single darn song in it, I've going to have to go for the piece that was actually a stage play from the beginning and not a huge entertainment conglomerate's attempt to bank more roll off a successful animated feature film. I pick Cats.

Woah, there, litte friend. You can't for a second make an argument that Andrew Lloyd Webber made Cats for any other reason than to make money. Sure, The Lion King was a way for Disney to bank on their most popular animated feature, but the show's creators at least went at it with artistic integrity. Julie Taymor wasn't going to let preconcieved visions of what Simba and Nala looked like keep her from completing a completely new, conceptualized version of the characters. They even pushed Jeffrey Katzenberg out the door when he tried to tell the creators how it should be done.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is simply this: deeply shallow and looking for a buck.