by Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom
The Official Musical Theatre of the State of Georgia continues its 23rd season of professional musical theatre with the opening of its two final shows. Go, Dog. Go! is the well known classic children’s book published by P. D Eastman in 1961 that has been popular with young children for over fifty years. The musical stage adaptation by Steven Dietz and Allison Gregory delighted the audience, young and old, at the June 23rd matinee. Dietz and Gregory combined the original limited dialogue with the extensive use of physical comedy, and added color, along with all those unique dogs, played by the professional repertory company of PSST. The musical is about seventy minutes long, with no intermission.
As reviewers we had as much fun watching the reactions of the children as we did watching the show. The tireless costumed dogs danced, sang, played games, and interacted with the audience.
The proceedings are directed by MC Dog (Robert Teasdale) who does a hilarious routine while trying to stand on roller skates that had both adults and children in stitches. While there is no real plot, we see the dogs engaged in the many activities of a storybook dog’s day, including working, sleeping, driving cars, riding in boats, and having parties. A segment with giant balloon baseballs batted into the audience and then punched here and there by everyone was a big hit.
Colors were important and the dogs dressed appropriately. The energetic and talented pack of dogs included: Yellow Dog (Kelly Methven), Blue Dog (Megan Wheeler, Red Dog (Madison Johnson), and Green Dog (Will Sedwick Dozier). Other Dogs were Sarah Mitchel, Shelby Nichols and Christiani Pitts. Krista Severeid played Hattie, a dog dressed in pink with many creative and colorful hats, who quizzes MC Dog about his liking for each hat she wears; she persists even though MC Dog tells her that he does not like hat after hat. In the final scene, Hattie sings a song specially written for this show “Do You Like My Hat?” and is joined by the entire ensemble.
The set by Tom Hanson is simple, with a backdrop depicting hills and sky, two large dog houses on either side of the stage, and three large alphabet blocks that are used as stools. Set pieces that included ladders and beds and boats and automobiles were brought on when needed.
Esther Iverson’s costumes were very much an important part of the show, with overalls in bright colors, some with spotted patterns, and all with coordinated hats, shirts, shoes and socks. The “orchestra” of eight was seated across the back of the stage, with Musical Director Paul J. Guilbeau conducting. The musicians and conductor, all dressed in black, had black baseball caps with dog ears.
The show was just the right length for the attention spans of the young fans, and to show their appreciation for the great reception they received, the entire cast came to the lobby right after the show to chat with and to sign autographs for their awed and adoring fans. Some of the mothers had cameras and took advantage of some outstanding photo opportunities.
The dates remaining for “Go, Dog. Go!” include June 27 and 30, and July 4, 7, 11 and 14, with all performances at 2:00 pm matinees. With a little planning you can see “Go Dog” in the afternoon and either “Legally Blonde” or “Light in the Piazza” in the evening. To check the complete schedule, go to www.valdosta.edu/psst. You can also call the box office at (229) 259-7770 for information.
The stadium seating in the theatre on the Valdosta State University campus proved to be excellent for even for the smallest child, since there is for the most part no worry about heads blocking your view. And although this is primarily a children’s show, the adults, including the Dual Critics enjoyed being young again.
by Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom