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Rosemarie Ford as Bombalurina in Cats
First appearanceOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats
Created byT. S. Eliot
Portrayed bySee below
In-universe information

Bombalurina is a principal character in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. The musical is an adaptation of T. S. Eliot's 1939 poetry book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, and the character's name is given in the poem "The Naming of Cats".[1] Bombalurina is a flirtatious, confident female and mischievous cat with a distinct red coat. The role was originated by Geraldine Gardner in the West End in 1981, and by Donna King on Broadway in 1982. In the 2019 film adaptation she is played by Taylor Swift.

Character description[edit]

Bombalurina is a self-assured and generally well-meaning adult cat. She can be mean at times, particularly towards Grizabella initially, though she later comes to accept her. She is best friends with Demeter and often watches out for her troubled friend; they also share a hatred for the villainous Macavity.[2] Bombalurina flirts with many male cats, particularly Rum Tum Tugger who rejects her during his musical number, but later relents and dances with her at the ball.

The role of Bombalurina is dance-heavy and usually calls for a mezzo-soprano range[3] with a high belt.[4][5]


Bombalurina is usually depicted as a statuesque cat;[3][4] she wears a spiked collar[6] and her coat is red with black spots and a white chest.


She sings "The Gumbie Cat" with Demeter and Jellylorum. She has a small solo in "Rum Tum Tugger". She also appears in "Grizabella the Glamour Cat" with Demeter again, and "Bustopher Jones" with Jennyanydots and Jellylorum. Her biggest singing part is in "Macavity", which she sings with Demeter towards the end of the musical. (In the original version, she sings this by herself.)

Notable casting[edit]

The role of Bombalurina was originated by Geraldine Gardner in the original West End production in 1981,[7] and by Donna King in the original Broadway production in 1982.[8] When King left the show, the role was taken over by Marlene Danielle who would continue to play the role for the rest of the show's 18-year run on Broadway. On screen, Bombalurina was portrayed by Rosemarie Ford in the 1998 film version of the musical,[9] and by Taylor Swift in the 2019 film adaptation.[10]

See also[edit]

  • Bombalurina, a band by Lloyd Webber (among others) named after the character


  1. ^ Eliot et al. 1983, pp. 19–20
  2. ^ "Demeter and Bombalurina". Cats the musical (official website). Archived from the original on 25 March 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Cats". Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. 2 June 2017. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Cats Audition" (PDF). Vereinigte Bühnen Wien. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Cast / Vocal Requirements: Cats". The Musical Company. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  6. ^ Sternfeld 2006, p. 131
  7. ^ "Original London Cast List". Really Useful Group. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  8. ^ Donna King Archived 2018-04-08 at the Wayback Machine at Internet Broadway Database, accessed 8 April 2018
  9. ^ "1998 Video Cast List". Really Useful Group. Archived from the original on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  10. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (20 July 2018). "Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden & Ian McKellen Line Up For 'Cats' Movie — Miaow". Deadline. Archived from the original on 20 July 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2019.

Print sources[edit]