Stage Plays
Click play button to hear a remixed medley of the 1997 studio recording
(Audio content ℗ Varese Sarabande)

Drat! The Cat!

Levin's versatility is on full display with his Broadway musical Drat! The Cat! – an original, frolicsome tale of a debutante-turned-jewel thief, and the hapless detective assigned to track her down.


Plain Jane Theatre Company

Levin had originally titled his confection "Cat and Mouse," and had composed all of its elements himself – book, lyrics and – yes – music. He was convinced however to bring in a pro to handle the musical duties – the talented Milton Schafer. The result was a beloved, cult-status musical with some oft-recorded songs (see our Discography) – and lyrics praised by no less than God (a.k.a. Stephen Sondheim).


Plain Jane Theatre Company

The show's hilarious book parodies Gilded Age 1890's New York, as a clinically-bumbling beat cop suddenly finds himself tasked with ferreting out the city's most notorious practicing cat burglar – who just happens to be the debutante daughter of the wealthiest man in town, Lucius Van Guilder.

Drat! starred Lesley Ann Warren (fresh off her success in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella), and Elliott Gould, then segueing from Broadway to Hollywood (where he'd star five years later in the film version of M*A*S*H).

Despite Levin's charming script/lyrics, and Milton Schafer's expert, tuneful melodies, Drat! ran but a single week. Those in the know faulted the overly-slick physical staging it received (trap doors, elevators, and the like), financial under-funding, and the bad luck of opening during a newspaper strike (at the time, the sole advertising channel for Broadway shows).

“I still love Drat!, almost in its entirety, and money would have saved it. We came into New York penniless.”
    —Levin (People Magazine, 1978)

  • The score's "He Touched Me" was the centerpiece of a 1970s national perfume ad campaign
  • The Carol Burnett Show built an entire sketch around the song as well
  • Here's the song featured on the 1995 television show Cybill

Gallery

Marc Bonanni of "Broadway by Ghostlight" has put out a phenomenal video walkthrough of Drat! The Cat! We highly recommend it for a comprehensive overview of the show.


“Drat! The Cat!” on Broadway By Ghostlight (YouTube)



(Above) Stephen Sondheim letter to Ira Levin

(Above) Lesley Ann Warren as "The Cat" (Overtur.com)



...and be sure to check out the New York Public Library's great online gallery!