Lolcats take to the stage with a musical

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    The website, icanhascheezburger.com, home of the lolcats phenomenon, is the subject of a off-Broadway musical.
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It all started with a picture of one chubby cat and a grammatically incorrect phrase: I Can Has Cheezburger?

Now, lolcats (pictures of cats with funny misspelled captions, written in broken English, or "lolspeak," featured on the website icanhascheezburger.com) are the basis for an independent, off-Broadway musical – I Can Has Cheezburger: The MusicLOL!

Tonight, fans of the website can experience the lolcats phenomenon live. The Internet-inspired musical will debut Friday at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York as part of the the city's International Fringe Festival, where it will run for five nights in August. Tickets for the show cost $15.

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The musical was written over the course of two months by two AOL editors, Kristyn Pomranz and Katherine Steinberg.

But where did the idea for such an unusual musical originate in the first place?

Ms. Steinberg says she heard Ms. Pomranz singing about a lolcat one day. After the impromptu tune surfaced, both Pomranz, who has a musical theater background, and Steinberg, who has studied sketch comedy, began writing lyrics for their off-Broadway show and soon cast nine actors to play various lolcat characters.

The plot centers around the main character, lolcat, who's on a quest to find a cheeseburger. On his journey, he meets a series of lolcat characters, including lolrus, a walrus who has lost a bucket, and Orly Owl, a snow owl, part of another Internet fad, who's always saying "O, rly? (Oh, really?)"

If you're curious, you can listen to two of the songs from the rehearsal in this AOL Urlesque podcast (scroll to the 20-minute mark.) The creators mention video clips of the show will be uploaded to their site sometime soon.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Scott Porad, the tech chief for Pet Holdings, the Seattle company who runs the site, I Can Has Cheezburger,  says "I think it's awesome and fills my heart with both humility and joy that I cannot adequately express in words. I find it truly remarkable (and, again, humbling) that the community is so engaged with the site, finds it so special and meaningful, that they are inspired to do things like the musical."

The quirky cat website has been the subject of many creative projects. Last fall, artists created original paintings and sculptures for an LOL Arts show, held in San Francisco. The website has as also spawned a book, bible translations in "lolspeak," and an iPhone app , which lets people create their own LOLcat photos (see photo above).

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If I Can Has Cheezburger is the subject of a musical, could a Keyboard cat musical be next? Share your thoughts below or tell us on Twitter @CSMHorizonsBlog.

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