"I have very special memories of this musical, I first saw it in 1985 and it would be the perfect show to launch a programme of imported productions," Takonkiat says.
BEC and Scenario, Takonkiat's company, are equal partners in bringing the US$2-million (Bt68-million) production to Thailand, adding that the cost will probably go up to Bt150 million or more once all the promotion and other expenses are taken into account. More than 100 cast and crew are expected to fly into Bangkok for the 14 shows.
"We've been interested in importing a show for a while now, but decided to look around for a partner to help with the costs," explains Brian L Marcar, managing director of BEC Tero. "By cooperating with Scenario rather than competing, we'll be able to reduce the costs and the audience will enjoy the benefits through cheaper tickets.
Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Cats" is based on TS Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats", and is one of the most popular musicals of all time and enjoying one of the longest runs in history on stages in London, New York and elsewhere. The musical's been translated into more than 20 languages.
The story takes place in a junkyard on the night of the annual Jellicle Ball, when Jellicle cats gather to dance under the full moon. Among the musical's best-known songs are "Memory", which became a massive hit for stage actress Elaine Page. The production is being brought here by Webber's Really Useful Company.
Takonkiat is quick to stress that he knows the local audiences can't be fobbed off with a B-grade production. "This is a real Broadway show with certain standards. Webber's Really Useful Company guarantees that."
Although prices have yet to be set, tickets will certainly be more expensive than those for local productions. "But you won't have to cough up for an airfare, so it will still be reasonable."
Though Takonkiat recently called some long running shows boring and said the actors were putting on a robotic performance, he reckons the cast of "Cats" will be very lively in Bangkok. "That only happens in big cities like New York and London, where they're on stage night after night and get bored. It doesn't happen when they are on tour and playing to different audiences because the atmosphere and the crowds are so different."
But while Takonkiat would like to see more imported shows make their way to Thailand, he has no ambition to turn Bangkok into a cultural hub.
"Singapore has the knowledge and experience to put on classical concerts, musicals and other productions, and they also have a variety of fully-equipped venues. I just hope we can see some world-class theatre here," he says.
Takonkiat's new venture looks set to do well. Tickets for his musical "Fah Jarod Sai" have almost sold out and he has already extended the run by another 15 shows.