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P.S. Your Cat Is Dead

P.S. Your Cat Is Dead is a novel, a play and a movie written by James Kirkwood, Jr., a playwright who also penned A Chorus Line.

1970 novel & play

Originally written as a play and then a novel, P.S. Your Cat Is Dead deals with a hapless actor, "Jimmy Zoole", who is left by his girlfriend on New Year's Eve. Unbeknownst to him, his cat has also died in an animal clinic. He surprises a burglar, Vito (called Eddie in some later productions), in his apartment, who had broken in a few times before, stealing among other things Zoole's precious manuscripts.

Wanting to teach the burglar a lesson, Zoole ties him up to his kitchen table, initially torturing him. Soon their relationship begins to take on a homosexual dimension, when Vito tells him he is gay and Zoole interviews him about his love life, supposedly "to get material for a novel". Zoole, who was previously shown as being in mourning for a male friend (similar to Brick Pollitt in Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Zoole's cat is named "Tennessee"), suddenly begins to question his own sexuality. He gets revenge on his former girlfriend, when she shows up in his apartment with her date, only to find him chatting with a young, attractive, bare-butted male tied to his sink. Eventually, Zoole and Vito come to terms with each other and the last scene hints at a deep friendship, if not perhaps relationship, of the two.

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.

Mexican play

In Mexico, this play was first produced in 1983 and starred by Manuel Ojeda as Jimmy and Humberto Zurita as Eddie. It was also produced from 1997 to 2000 and starred by 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 and Sebastián Rulli. The play was also presented in several cities of the United States when Juan Soler was part of the cast.

2002 film

In 2002, Steve Guttenberg (better known for the Police Academy series of films) combined the play and the novel into a movie, which he co-wrote with comedian Jeff Korn, and directed, starring himself as the writer, Cynthia Watros as his newly-ex-girlfriend Kate and Lombardo Boyar as the youthful burglar Eddie. It was screened at the 2002 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

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