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Drat the Cat

Cover to studio cast recording

A Musical Spoof in Two Acts, 16 Scenes. Book and lyrics by Ira Levin. Music by Milton Schafer.

Opened 10 October 1965 at the Martin Beck Theatre and closed 16 October 1965 after 8 performances.


Drat, the Cat! is a musical comedy about a cat burglar plundering 1890's New York society

Drat! The Cat! begins with an Overture, but the creators couldn't wait for the action to begin. So, instead of having to stare at a red curtain while we listened, they brought us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the Academy of Music, and a private room at Delmonico's. The Cat's black-gloved hand lifts a many-carated diamond at each.

How this cat burglar is confounding the police! That's one of the things that's killing Chief of Detectives Roger "Bulldog" Purefoy, who, on his deathbed, begs his quite naïve and less accomplished son, Patrolman Bob Purefoy to uphold the law. Bob will, starting on Saturday night, when he guards the social event of the season - Lucius and Matilda Van Guilder's party. When Bob goes to discuss security measures with the money-grubbing Lucius and his social-climbing wife, into the room comes Alice Van Guilder. It is love at first sight - for Bob. You can't accuse Alice of being uncooperative, though, She says she wants to help catch the Cat. They can be like Holmes and Watson.

After Alice leaves, Bob sings of his love at first touch. Bob asked of Alice "Is she really real?" Truth to tell, no. What she really is is "Wild and Reckless" - and the Cat. "How many of you guessed?" she asks the audience, having stripped down to her clinging black cat costume. Yes, Alice is indeed wild and reckless. And has the music for any verse ever been more carnal, or more sexually escalating in excitement in the entire history of musical theater? I'm serious.

Well, Alice IS frustrated. All her parents want is for her to marry well. She wants to be a career girl at a time when there weren't career girls. Don't misunderstand. Alice would agree with Lorelei Lee that diamonds are a girl's best friend. She only wants to earn them herself, thank you.

Meanwhile, Bob is telling his sainted mother of the wonderful girl he has found.

At the party, a costume ball, Alice steals a 42.77 - carater and, when things go awry, hides it in her mouth (no pockets in her cat costume). Bob doesn't see her do it, nor does he suspect her even after he's asked her seven questions that she answers "Mmm! Mmm!" Then the diamond comes popping out of her mouth.

Alice is one, though, who can always make the best out of a bad situation. She knocks out Bob with a champagne bottle, drags him to the basement, then comes out and tells the cops that HE's really the cat. They believe her, as Bob is downstairs, chained, realising that he's in love with the cat, employing some sentiments that could be described as sorry-grateful. And so ends Act One.

As Act Two begins, Bob's police colleagues aren't at all ambivalent.

Alice too is getting brutal. She pulls a gun on Bob, who tells her that she really isn't a bad girl. Alice proves him right by not pulling the trigger. The only thing is the hero usually isn't threatened by a woman wielding a gunl. But Bob's right - Alice is no killer. She lets him go, before requesting that both of them should be far away. As for Alice's parents, they join the ranks of the many fathers and mothers each of whom accuse the other that "It's Your Fault."

Bob? Turns out he's wild and reckless too. Now he'll set himself up as the patsy to help save the woman he loves. Fine with the police department, who'd just as soon be able to close the case. But, as we say, Alice is really a good kid. She realises she does have feelings for Bob and won't let him take the blame. She doesn't overstate the case, but says, "I Like Him." Well, it all works out happily for Alice. Suspended sentence and a wedding.

CAST (in order of appearance):

  • The Mayor
  • Pincer, Superintendent of Police
  • Mallet, Chief of Detectives
  • Roger "Bulldog" Purefoy, Former Chief of Detectives
  • Kate Purefoy, his wife
  • Emma, a Patrolwoman
  • Bob Purefoy, the Purefoy's Son, a Patrolman
  • The Van Guilder's Butler
  • Matilda Van Guilder, a Socialite
  • Lucius Van Guilder, Her Husband, a Millionaire
  • Alice Van Guilder, their Daughter
  • The Maid
  • The Minister
  • The Mayor's Wife
  • Julietta Onderdonck, a Dowager from Boston
  • The Judge
  • The Prosector
  • Patrolmen, Ensemble

Scenes and Settings:

The action takes place in New York City and environs. The time is spring in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Act 1

Scene 1: Various places in New York City.
Scene 2: A Bedroom in the Purefoy's Flat.
Scene 3: Lucius Van Guilder's Study and Counting Room.
Scene 4: Alice Van Guilder's Boudoir and a Secret Chamber.
Scene 5: The Purefoy's Kitchen.
Scene 6: Pier Fourteen.
Scene 7: Van Guilder's Study and the Garden.
Scene 8: The Van Guilders' Cellar.

Act 2

Scene 1: Police Headquarters.
Scene 2: The Cellar.
Scene 3: Van Guilder's Study.
Scene 4: The Woods North of the City.
Scene 5: Various Places in the City.
Scene 6: The Woods and the City.
Scene 7: Van Guilder's Study.
Scene 8: A Courtroom.

Musical Numbers:


  1. "Drat! The Cat! - Citizens, Patrolmen, Mayor, Pincer, Mallet
  2. "My Son, Uphold the Law" - Roger, Patrolmen
  3. "Holmes and Watson" - Alice, Bob Purefoy
  4. "She Touched Me" - Bob Purefoy
  5. "Wild and Reckless" - Alice
  6. "She's Roses" - Bob Purefoy, Kate
  7. "Ignoble Theft of the Idol's Eyes" (ballet) - Alice, Patrolmen, Attendants of the Idol,
  8. Property Men, Warriors, Geishas, Lion, High Priest, Roger, Cantor, Mallet.
  9. "Dancing With Alice" - Bob Purefoy, Alice, Lucius, Matilda, Guests
  10. "Drat! The Cat!" (reprise) - Lucius, Matilda, Guests
  11. "Purefoy's Lament" - Bob Purefoy


  1. "A Pox Upon the Traitor's Brow" - Pincer, Mallet, Emma, Patrolmen
  2. "Deep in Your Heart" - Bob Purefoy
  3. "Let's Go" - Alice, Bob Purefoy
  4. "It's Your Fault" - Lucius, Matilda
  5. "Wild and Reckless" (reprise) - Bob Purefoy
  6. "The Upside-Down Thief" (ballet) - Bob Purefoy, Citizens, Patrolmen, Kate, Mallet, Concert-Goers, Roger, Mayor's Companion, Patrolmen
  7. "Today Is a Day for a Band to Play" - Pincer, Mallet, Emma, Patrolmen, Citizens
  8. "She Touched Me" (reprise) - Bob Purefoy, Alice
  9. "I Like Him" - Alice
  10. "Justice Triumphant" - Entire Company
  11. "Today Is a Day for a Band to Play" (reprise) - Entire Company


Studio Cast Recording - Varèse Sarabande VSD 5721