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Susan Jane Tanner as Jellylorum.
Created byT. S. Eliot
Portrayed bySusan Jane Tanner (London, video)
Bonnie Simmons (Broadway)
In-universe information

Jellylorum is a principal character in the musical Cats. One of the Jellicle cats, she is usually portrayed as a motherly caretaker and is principally a vocalist. The musical is based on the 1939 collection of poems by T. S. Eliot from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, and Jellylorum is named after the poet's own cat.[1]

The role of Jellylorum was originated by Susan Jane Tanner in the West End in 1981, and by Bonnie Simmons on Broadway in 1982. Freya Rowley played Jellylorum in the 2019 film adaptation.


Jellylorum was originally the subject of a T. S. Eliot poem entitled "The Naming of Cats".[2] The character's name is believed to mean "lillie cat", "wisdom" or "tradition".[3]


Jellylorum is a practical and motherly older cat.[4][5] She is one of the adult characters who initially protects the kittens from Grizabella, though she later comes to accept the latter. Jellylorum serves as a caretaker for the elderly Gus: The Theatre Cat,[6] and the two sing a duet in the second act of the musical. Jellylorum is also frequently shown as being close friends with Jennyanydots and Skimbleshanks.

On stage, Jellylorum is usually depicted as a predominantly 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 1998 filmed version, Jellylorum is closer in age to Jennyanydots.


In Cats, Jellylorum has four main singing 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 principally a vocalist part and is played by a soprano who is able to hit high C.[4][5][7]

Notable casting[edit]

The role of Jellylorum was originated by Susan Jane Tanner in the original West End production in 1981,[8] and by Bonnie Simmons in the original Broadway production in 1982.[9] Other notable performers to have played the character include: Iselin Alme (Oslo, original cast); Susana Zabaleta (Mexico City, original cast); Sara Jean Ford (2016 Broadway revival, original cast).[10]

On screen, Tanner reprised the role in the 1998 filmed version.[11] Freya Rowley played the role in the 2019 film adaptation.The role has also been played by Robyn Chambers.


  1. ^ Milner, Catherine (20 January 2002). "Now Lloyd Webber puts Eliot's dogs to music". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  2. ^ Eliot, T. S.; Eliot, Valerie; Lloyd Webber, Andrew; Nunn, Trevor; Lynne, Gillian; Napier, John (1983). Cats: The Book of the Musical. Harvest Books. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-0156155823.
  3. ^ Rachel Tranter (21 January 2004). "Names". Rumpleteazer's Argentine Joint Site. Webs, Inc. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Cats". Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. 2 June 2017. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Cats Audition" (PDF). Vereinigte Bühnen Wien. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  6. ^ Lawler, Christa (14 March 2013). "'Cats' teaches teens meow-velous makeup techniques". Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Cast / Vocal Requirements: Cats". The Musical Company. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Original London Cast List". Really Useful Group. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Original Broadway Cast List". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Inside the Playbill: Cats – Opening Night at the Neil Simon Theatre: Cast". Playbill. Archived from the original on 24 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  11. ^ "1998 Video Cast List". Really Useful Group. Archived from the original on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2019.