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|Author||James Kirkwood Jr.|
|Publisher||Stein and Day|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
P.S. Your Cat Is Dead is a novel by James Kirkwood Jr., originally published in 1972, adapted from his play. The book and play later were adapted to film in 2002.
Abandoned by his girlfriend on New Year's Eve, and still unaware that his beloved cat Bobby Seale has died in an animal clinic, hopeless New York actor Jimmy Zoole is feeling depressed and unstable when he happens across a cat burglar named Vito in his apartment. Furious, he beats the stranger unconscious and ties him to his kitchen sink. Jimmy begins to torment his terrified captive; however, the unlikely pair soon establish a bond. Vito once had a wife who left him after she discovered he was gay and who took their child with her. Jimmy questions his own sexual orientation as his relationship with Vito takes on an erotic dimension, and decides to use his prisoner to exact revenge on his former lover. In the end, Jimmy and Vito, now working as a team, sell a stash of stolen drugs and run away together.
In his James Kirkwood biography Ponies & Rainbows, Sean Egan traces the genesis of the play, which had its roots in a series of burglaries at Kirkwood's apartment on West 58th Street in New York. The book also features a photograph of Gino Marino, a friend and lover of Kirkwood's upon whom Egan claims the author based the character Vito.
1975 Broadway production
After five previews, the Broadway production, directed by Vivian Matalon, opened on April 7, 1975 at the John Golden Theatre, where it ran for 16 performances. The cast included Keir Dullea, Tony Musante, and Jennifer Warren. Drama Desk Award nominations went to Kirkwood for Outstanding New Play and Musante for Outstanding Actor in a Play.
After changes were made to the script in the early 1980s, the play re-opened Off Broadway at Circle in the Square Downtown with a cast that included Zeljko Ivanek as Vito.
During his acceptance speech for the Tony Award he received for A Chorus Line on April 16, 1976, author James Kirkwood stated the following: "As A Chorus Line was previewing at the Newman Theater, I had a little diddy open on Broadway about a month before called P.S. Your Cat Is Dead. It was greeted by some of the critics as if I'd dramatized the Black Plague. It's been rewritten. It's got a whole new life on the coast, so it's alive and well."
In Mexico, this play first was produced in 1983 under the title "P.D. Tu gato ha muerto" and starred Manuel Ojeda as Jimmy and Humberto Zurita as Eddie. It was produced from 1997 to 2000 and starred Otto Sirgo in the role of Jimmy. The role of Eddie throughout the years went to Héctor Soberón, Juan Soler, Xavier Ortiz, Héctor Suarez Gomiz, Jorge Poza and Sebastián Rulli. The play was presented in several cities of the United States when Juan Soler was part of the cast.
In 2002, Steve Guttenberg combined the play and novel into the feature film P.S. Your Cat Is Dead, which he co-wrote with Jeff Korn and directed, starring himself as the writer, Cynthia Watros as his ex-girlfriend Kate, and Lombardo Boyar as the youthful burglar Eddie. It was screened at the 2002 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
In 2004, the play was produced in São Paulo, with the title P.S.: Seu Gato Morreu, directed by Jarbas Homem de Mello, and had Teco Tavares - who also produced and translated the play to Portuguese - in the role of Jimmy Zoole and Paula Picarelli as Kate. The roles of Vito and Fred were played by Luís Araújo and Eduardo Estrela, respectively.
The first performance of a German version of the play took place on 29 January 2011 in Berlin at Jüdisches Theater Bimah, directed by Thomas Maul. While the roles of Vito (played by Markus Riexinger) and Jimmy's girlfriend Kate (Katrin Stephan) were taken from the original play as they are, Jimmy Zoole was turned into a woman: Jenny Zola (Jasmin Steck), turning the relationship with Kate into a lesbian one.
Argentine Play The play was a success back in 1978 at the ATENEO Theater (Buenos Aires) , produced by Carlos Rottemberg, directed by Emilio Alfaro and with Luis Brandoni and Gerardo Romano in its leading roles.
- Egan, Sean (2011). Ponies & Rainbows: The Life of James Kirkwood. Oklahoma: BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-680-8.
- James Kirkwood's Televised Acceptance Speech - "1976 Tony Awards ~ COMPLETE" at 1:58:41 on youtube.com link below.