updated 07/08/2014 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/08/2014 AT 11:45 AM ET
Cats is back – and now one of the felines raps.
Andrew Lloyd Webber announced Monday that his hit musical will return to London’s West End in December in a revamped production with a hip-hop flavor.
Based on T.S. Eliot’s whimsical Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats, the musical opened in London in 1981, running for 21 years there and 18 years on Broadway.
Lloyd Webber said Monday he had tweaked parts of the show, which has been performed in more than 30 countries.
Lloyd Webber said he was making the character of Rum Tum Tugger a rapping street cat because “I’ve come to the conclusion that … maybe Eliot was the inventor of rap.”
“The thing about the Eliot verse is that you can tell he’s American. Nobody other than Eliot would have written ‘The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat,’” the composer said.
The new production reunites the original creative team of director Trevor Nunn, choreographer Gillian Lynne and designer John Napier.
It runs at London’s Palladium for 12 weeks beginning Dec. 6.