By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 29, 1998 12:00 AM
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After 18 years and 7,485 performances — as well as contempt by critics and adoration by audiences — Broadway’s longest running show, “Cats,” is now a memory. Last night’s final, by-invitation-only performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical spectacular, which was stopped several times by lengthy applause after some purr-fectly performed production numbers, was followed by an extravagant dinner-dance that included fireworks over the Hudson River. “Tonight is the last night of “Cats”‘s first life on Broadway,” Lloyd Webber said during the emotional curtain call before the 1,500-strong crowd. “So I don’t know what all the fuss is about, really.”