Munkustrap is the principal narrator character in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. He is named in "The Naming of Cats".
|“||Imposing, Energetic, Courageous||”|
Munkustrap is a leader and protector to the Jellicle cats. He is the responsible older brother, who despairs of the wild Rum Tum Tugger. He loves and enjoys the company of his tribe, when not alarmed by a perceived threat, he is genial and friendly. In London-based productions, after fighting Macavity to save Demeter, they often appear as a couple.
According to film actor Michael Gruber -
"Munkustrap is really the story-teller. He's entrusted with giving the information to the other, maybe younger cats who have not been to the Jellicle Ball before. He gets up and says exactly what they're here to do, and he's also a caretaker of the kittens. He wants to make sure everybody's safe; in all the Macavity scares, he's there to protect the tribe. So he is the protector."
|“||Excellent singer/actor, who must be able to move. Baritone. In the absence of Old Deuteronomy he is the leader of the cats. He stands out due to his imposing, energetic and courageous manner, and exudes maturity and dignity.||”|
Munkustrap is the narrator of the story, opening the show and explaining the Jellicle tribe's yearly meeting. If Old Deuteronomy is the beloved wise head of the tribe, Munkustrap is the practical leader, organising defences when Macavity appears. He directs "The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles", which he has clearly organised and rehearsed, but doesn't go according to his plan.
Munkustrap is a silver/gray tabby. In some productions his costume has warm brownish tones to the greys, otherwise he is pure silver and black.
He is usually one of the tallest Cats in the tribe, physically imposing as the actor has to be strong enough to fight Macavity, which includes lifting and throwing another male dancer.
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- Jeff Shankley - Original London Cast (1981-1982)
- Harry Groener - Original Broadway Cast (1982-1984)
- Steve Barton - Original Vienna Cast (1983-1984)
- Michael Gruber - Broadway (1997), Video (1997)
- Jack Rebaldi - London (1997-2002), Original Berlin Cast (2002-2003), Original Madrid Cast (2003-2004), Düsseldorf (2005), German Tour (2005-2006), German Tent Tour (2010-2011)
- Cédric Chupin - Paris (2015)
- The name “Munkustrap” is believed to be a nonce word (word that is coined for a special purpose), which means his name will actually never belong to more than one cat.
- There are 6 songs soloed by Munkustrap in Cats film 1998: Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats, The Invitation to the Jellicle Ball, The Old Gumbie Cat, Old Deuteronomy, The Awful Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles, and the song sung when Old Deuteronomy is about to announce who's going to the heaviside layer.
- In "Growltiger’s Last Stand" in the London production, Munkustrap appears as Grumbuskin.
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