Cruella's Back! Open Dog Auditions Held for "101 Dalmatians" Musical
Photo courtesy of MSG Entertainment.
Watch out, dalmatians! Cruella De Vil is back, and this time she's dognapping those hopeless pups right off Broadway! Madison Square Garden was the site of "open dog auditions" Thursday as all types of pooches - from professionals to foster dogs - registered for the chance to show off their best bark in the opening of the "101 Dalmatians" musical. The show, currently touring across the country, will be coming to New York City in April.
The musical of "101 Dalmatians," presented by Purina Dog Chow, is directed by Jerry Zaks and composed by Dennis DeYoung and B.T. McNicholl. Wait a second... Dennis DeYoung? Yes, he does sound familiar! DeYoung is the former lead singer of the rock band Styx. But will he be able to get audiences moving to "Twilight Barking" the way they do to "Mr. Roboto"? As the Composer and Co-Lyricist, DeYoung says, "I love having the opportunity to give musical life to the outrageous Cruella De Vil, but more importantly, to try and create a score that will stay with the audience long after they have left the theater. As in days of old, musical theater music should aspire to be relevant both in and out of dramatic context. With that in mind, it might be time to start teaching your dogs to sing." So you may not be able to pull out your best robot moves, but the musical's contemporary score promises to have you wagging your tail - ahem, tapping your foot - to the beat!
Now you may be asking yourself, "how will they be able to make dogs sing?" The creative team has chosen to represent the dalmatians' point of view with a style reminiscent of Charles M. Schulz's "Peanuts" cartoons. In this version of Dodie Smith's beloved book, the dogs are played by humans and - in order to keep perspective - the human characters have a giant-like presence. Director Jerry Zaks explains, “we felt it was very important to accurately portray the look and feel of the original book, which tells the story from the dogs' point of view, in a way that translates to the stage. Humans are presented in a heightened form of dress and scale so as to appear larger-than-life, and the actors who play the animals thus seem more human than their humans. As for the lovable dalmatians, they have no ears, no paws – but a clever use of costumes in a black-and-white palette that immediately set them apart from the human characters.”
Along with the dalmatians who are played by humans, one dog chosen from Thursday's pool of hopeful canines will be featured in the show's opening at Madison Square Garden. And no matter which dog is finally chosen, the owners of the first 101 registrants trotted away with free tickets to the production. In addition to the star pup in the opening act, the show is even making plans for a live dalmatian finale. For the duration of the show's tour across the country, these lucky dogs will get to travel on a decked-out bus, referred to as the "rolling dog palace" because of the portable dog playground, dog spa, and resident trainers on board.
When the final curtain has closed, the featured pups will continue to enjoy the "good life." Those dogs without owners will be found loving forever homes, or come to live in Florida on the ranch of the show's Dog Trainer, Joel Slaven.
For more information about the show and tour dates, visit:
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