Host Jimmy Fallon led his conversation with the Broadway legend to the Jellicle 1981 musical by asking, “Can I ask you about Cats?” as members of the audience chuckled. “How does one come up with an idea like Cats? And are you a cat person?”
“Well, I am a cat person,” Lord Lloyd Webber responded. “Well, I was a total cat person until I saw the Cats movie.”
After that joke got an impromptu standing ovation from the studio audience, the composer continued. “What happened to the Cats movie was, during the course of it being, as it were, shot — which I hope the whole movie would’ve been — I bought this little puppy. And he was called Mojito, he’s a little Havanese dog, he comes from Cuba.”
Lloyd Webber went on to explain that he tried using the pup as a therapy dog on an airplane, but the unnamed airline said he needed a doctor’s note. “And so I just said, ‘I saw the Cats movie and bought a puppy,’” he deadpanned. “And they said, ‘No doctor’s letter required.’”
Directed by Tom Hooper, the 2019 musical adaptation featured a who’s who of stars like James Corden, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellan and Taylor Swift as humanoid alley cats. It was panned by critics and audiences alike, though “Beautiful Ghosts,” the original song written for the film by Lloyd Webber and Swift, did garner a Grammy nomination for best song written for visual media and a Golden Globe nod for best song – motion picture.
During the interview, the Broadway impresario also spoke about the closing of Phantom the night before, saying, “It was sad last night because I just felt it could run on, but there you go.”
However, the iconic chandelier may not have fallen for the last time. ALW received a mysterious note that was delivered to the Tonight Show studio from the Phantom himself, which read, “I am extremely displeased that my legend is no longer being told in New York, a city for which I have developed great affection. I am therefore currently obtaining a new address in which my legend will be examined in extreme detail. I advise you and New Yorkers to be vigilant.”
Watch Lloyd Webber’s complete interview with Fallon below.