You’ve got two options this month if you want to sing along to the iconic and oft-parodied songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. One is to wait until the movie comes out Christmas Day, buy a ticket, and belt along until a kindly usher asks you to please shut the hell up or leave. Your other option is to find a karaoke bar, which seems like the better choice if you want to both sing “Memory” at the top of your lungs and see the entirety of Cats on the big screen. Here are some local New York establishments that will let you do just that.
9 St. Marks Pl. and 81 Ave. A, New York
Both locations have not one, but two versions of “Memory” for you to sing. The first is specifically from Cats and the other is Barbra Streisand’s version. (This could be you.) Additional options include “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats” and “The Rum Tum Tugger” (the latter referring to the horniest cat in Cats, in this writer’s opinion).
8 W. 32nd St., New York
Gagopa offers the same lineup as Sing Sing. So you’ve got your “Memory,” you’ve got your “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats,” and you’ve got your “The Rum Tum Tugger.” Happy singing.
Lion’s Roar Karaoke House
187 Meserole St., Brooklyn
This gem of a karaoke spot offers just about every dang karaoke song the heart could ever want, and also some it probably does not. “We are proud to offer an extensive song library that is fully supplemented by the hundreds of thousands of karaoke song titles that we are able to stream from YouTube. If it exists as a karaoke title, we can provide it!” co-owner Roberto Williams said. (I myself have performed a truly terrible duet of “All the Wasted Time” from Parade at Lion’s Roar, which is how you know he’s telling the truth.) “Naturally, this means that a complete selection of all Broadway show tunes — including all titles from the hit show Cats — are available upon request.” He also kindly provided a picture of Lion’s Roars “karao-cats,” Oola, Jedi, and Wampa. As a note, you have to reserve the whole of Lion’s Roar — think of it as your own BYOB karaoke living room — in advance, so honestly this is your best bet for performing a small-scale musical start to finish.
1 E. 13th St., New York
When I called to inquire about Cats, a kindly employee directed me to an app called Healsonic where they said I could search their entire song list. The app showed two musical selections. The first was the iconic “Memory.” The second was an instrumental version of “Jellicle Ball.” Which, if the list is correct and not simply mislabeling “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats,” is a ten-minute ditty that includes some creepy cat chanting, singing, and a very long dance break. Karaoke Cave has private rooms, but the central bar area is one big public karaoke space, so you’re sure to annoy the shit out of strangers or make some new friends with your performance.
161 Lafayette St., New York
“We have ‘Jellicle Ball’ and ‘Memory’ in our song library,” the owner of Baby Grand, Joey Park, told me after I emailed inquiring about Cats. I followed up to make sure “Jellicle Ball” was not simply an errantly labeled “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats.” “Is it the one that opens with ‘Jellicle cats come out tonight. Jellicle cats come one, come all?’” I asked Park. He confirmed. It is, in fact, the mostly instrumental number that begins with cats chanting in rhymes that will haunt your nightmares.
Brandy’s Piano Bar
235 E. 84th St., New York
“Cats just isn’t popular,” a Brandy’s employee told me when I called to inquire. “I just don’t hear it a lot.” He did, however, note that if you’re particularly feline-musical inclined you can ask whomever is at the piano that night. “I’m sure it’s in our repertoire.”
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