This vest is part of a costume worn by actors portraying the character Rum Tum Tugger in the original Broadway production of Cats. The three-piece vest is made of a black synthetic knit fabric. It has a deep shawl collar with beige and white synthetic fur and white plastic wire fringe attached. A silver metal chain is attached across the front midway down the v-neck opening. The vest has a black leather belt stuffed with flat silver metal pyramid and disk shapes. A long tail of braided black and orange plush fabrics and orange and black yarn runs down from the back.
One of the Jellicle tribe that introduces themselves over the course of the show, Rum Tum Tugger is portrayed as a rebellious and flirtatious cat who loves to be the center of attention. Rum Tum Tugger is a singing role with several solos like “The Rum Tum Tugger,” “Magical Mr. Mistoffelees,” and other featured parts. He originally embodied a rock star persona but takes on more of a rapper style in more recent adaptations, like the 2014 West End revival and the 2019 film adaptation. Paul Nicholas originated the role on the West End in 1981 and Terrance Mann later took on the role on Broadway in 1982. On the screen, John Partridge portrayed the character in the 1998 film and Jason Derulo portrayed him in the 2019 film adaptation.
Cats broke Broadway records with its run of 7,485 performances from 1982 until 2000 at New York’s Winter Garden Theatre. The play, written and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on stories and characters from T. S. Eliot's 1939 Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, and first premiered in London’s West End in 1981. The expensive and spectacular production has been called the first “megamusical,” inaugurating a new period of Broadway theater history when big-budget shows with elaborate special effects, spectacular costumes, and rock music revived the theater district’s sagging fortunes. Cats earned multiple Tony awards in its original run and has since been revived on Broadway and in numerous national and international tours.
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.