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Auctioning off memories of musical 'Cats'

Don't cry for "Cats." After two extensions, Andrew Lloyd Webber's record-shattering musical opus, based on T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," will play its 7,485th and final performance this Sunday, Sept. 10.

"That's it!" says Phil Smith, president of Broadway's Shubert Organization, which owns the Winter Garden Theater here, where "Cats" opened Oct. 7, 1982. "We need to renovate the theater for another show...."

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But if you want to add to your memories of Broadway's longest-running show (it cleared $383 million), you still have a chance to purr over your own piece of Broadway history. Thousands of items from the cartoonish junkyard set are going on sale, first on the Internet at Amazon.com Sept. 12, then at a live auction Sept. 16 at Broadway's Winter Garden Theater.

You'll be able to bid for everything from an old "Cats" sneaker (with dog-eared shoelaces) to the costume that Tony Award-winning actress Betty Buckley wore playing Grizabella. "You may be able to buy a tail for as little as $5," promised a press representative for the show.

Most shows simply throw everything out. "As far as I know, this is the first" to sell its goods, says Frank Conway of the New York charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS sponsoring the auctions. "It's such a historic show anyway."

The auction will charge a $10 admission fee. For more information, call (212) 840-0770.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society