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Susan Jane Tanner as Jellylorum.
|Created by||T. S. Eliot|
|Portrayed by||Susan Jane Tanner (London, video)
Bonnie Simmons (Broadway)
Jellylorum is one of the characters from the musical Cats. The character is usually portrayed as a mature female and is principally a vocalist. The musical is based upon the cat poetry of T.S. Eliot and the character represents the poet's own cat. The character's name is believed to mean "lillie cat", "wisdom" or "tradition".
The Little cat
Jellylorum was originally the subject of a T.S. Eliot poem entitled "The Naming of Cats".
On stage, Jellylorum is usually depicted as a predominately yellow calico or tabby cat. The character's age varies according to the production; many productions have Jellylorum near the age of Bombalurina and Demeter, but others portray the character as slightly older. In the video version, Jellylorum is closer in age to Jennyanydots.
The perception of Jellylorum as an older cat is partially based upon her maternal attitude towards the kittens. She is one of the adult characters who protects the kitten characters from Grizabella but later she touches and accepts her, and reminds the kittens that "Jellicles dry between their toes." Jellylorum is also one of the few "queens" in the musical who does not swoon for Rum Tum Tugger.
Jellylorum is one of the few characters in Cats to have a firmly established relationship with another character. In the second act, Jellylorum sings the female part of "Gus: the Theatre Cat" in a duet with the character of Old Gus. Jellylorum is also frequently shown as being close friends with Jennyanydots and Skimbleshanks.
In Cats, Jellylorum has four main parts:
- In "The Old Gumbie Cat" Jellylorum is part of the female chorus often called the "Gumbie Trio".
- In "Bustopher Jones: the Cat About Town" Jellylorum is one of three female soloists.
- In "Gus: the Theatre Cat" Jellylorum sings a duet with Gus.
- In "Growltiger's Last Stand" Jellylorum performs the part of Griddlebone in most productions.
The role of Jellylorum is played by a soprano who is able to hit High C. Dance ability is secondary to vocal ability in many larger productions where there are more characters to fill in dance numbers due to the vocal ability needed for Griddlebone's part in "Growltiger's Last Stand."
Susan Jane Tanner plays the role of Jellylorum in the original production, as well as in the video version of Cats. As Tanner was reprising the video role seventeen years after the original production, she was roughly ten years older than the average actress that had portrayed the character thus far.
- London original cast: Susan Jane Tanner
- Vienna original cast: Monica Solem
- Broadway original cast: Bonnie Simmons
- Los Angeles original cast: Sally Spencer
- Tokyo original cast: Tomohisa Hosaka
- Oslo original cast: Iselin Alme
- Toronto original cast: Thea MacNeil
- Bueños Aires original cast: Conie Marins
- Mexico City original cast: Susana Zabaleta
- Paris original cast: Pascale Degli-Esposti
- Hamburg original cast: Nancy Nordine
- Corpus Christi original cast: Polly Reavis
- Helsinki original cast: Riitta Havukainen/Mari Rantasila
- West Coast tour (US): Rebecca Raider
- Worldwide tour: Lucy Horton
- Brazil Original cast: Sara Sarres
- Broadway revival cast: Sarah Jane Shanks
In some non-English language productions Jellylorum goes by other names.