Monday, May 05, 2014

SCT goes to the dogs with Art Dog!

Arthur (Auston James) shows off the fine art in Art Dog (Chris Bennion)

Dog thieves (Kate Jaeger and Allen Galli) steal Mona Woofa (Chris Bennion)

Sometimes, adults wonder if shows labeled “children’s theater” are ones that are going to bore them while enriching children’s experience, and how they are going to make it through ferrying their children to the event. For almost every production Seattle Children’s Theatre ever puts on stage, that is never the case and there is always much for adults to enjoy and even savor that will just sail over the kids’ heads.

Such is the case of the adorable production, Art Dog, on stage until May 18th. It is a world premiere musical, although it has the feel of a cartoon more than a musical. It’s a cartoon about fine art, dog-style. It’s based on Thacher Hurd’s book, adapted by John Olive with music by Sue Ennis.

With a robust set design by Jennifer Zeyl that features a museum, a city scape, a moving map (a sort of cartoon Google map where GPS can track vehicles), and hidden graffiti, and colorful costuming by Scott Gray, there is much to see and absorb.

We’re introduced to Arthur (Auston James), the museum caretaker, who carefully tends each dog-amended world famous painting in Dogopolis Museum of Art. Each day, he resets all the drifted pieces of art – eyes that have wandered, monkeys that have escaped – back to their rightful place in paintings that remind adults of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and the Mona Lisa. Here, we discover the Mona Woofa! And one morning, the Mona Woofa has disappeared!

Well, we’ve seen it disappear, at the hands of a couple of dog thieves (Kate Jaeger and Allen Galli). But the museum director (also Kate Jaeger) and a cop (Khanh Doan) think the culprit is Art Dog. Art Dog is actually Arthur, who loves to paint the town each night and would never hurt his favorite painting. So Arthur starts chasing the thieves and the cops start chasing him.

David Duvall plays almost all the music with an enhanced piano and there are many styles of music he’s called to play. The four talented actor/singers have to constantly run to change costumes and characters as the farce gains steam. It’s a fast moving 50 minute production suitable for kids 5 and over, and there are plenty of puns and musical references to keep adults fully enjoying themselves.

For more information, go to www.sct.org or call 206-441-3322.