Cats debuts in theaters on Dec. 20

By Nigel Smith
December 17, 2019 10:45 AM

Jennifer Hudson doesn’t hold anything back in her take of the classic ballad, “Memory,” in the upcoming Cats movie adaptation of the stage musical.

Ahead of the film’s release on Friday, the Oscar winner, 38, has released her rendition of the song, sung by her character Grizabella.

Cats is based on the classic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name, which in turn was based on T.S. Eliot’s 1939 poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The film revolves around a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice,” in which one cat is chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

Hudson’s Grizabella is an outcast whose looks have faded. She is known for singing “Memory,” which is perhaps the most famous song come from the musical. “Memory” was originally sung by Elaine Paige when the musical debuted in London’s West End production in 1981.

Along with Hudson, the A-list cast of Cats also includes stars Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, James Corden and Taylor Swift.

Jennifer Hudson
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

In addition to Cats, Hudson will star as late queen of soul Aretha Franklin in the upcoming biopic Respect, in theaters Aug. 14, 2020.

Cats debuts in theaters on Dec. 20.