101 Dalmatians, the story of a happy family of dogs threatened by a crazy fur-lover, simply will not go away. It started as a children’s novel by Dodie Smith in 1956, which has now reached classic status, was turned into a Walt Disney animated film in 1961, a live-action remake in 1996 starring Glenn Close and Jeff Daniels and actual Dalmatian puppies, a television series the next year, followed in 2000 by a sequel in the Glen Close movie, 102 Dalmatians.
Now it is a musical. It’s been touring since last year, and after stops in Columbus, Indianapolis, and Providence, will finally arrive in New York â€“ but only for 10 days and not on Broadway, about 10 blocks away at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden. From there it is on to San Antonio and Kansas City.
The first thing to understand about 101 Dalmatians is that it is not affiliated with Disney. The second is that reviews have been mixed.
However, it is directed by Broadway pro Jerry Zaks, who has directed more than two dozen shows on Broadway, winning four Tonys. (He is also the director brought in to rework â€œThe Adams Familyâ€ opening on Broadway April 11). â€œWe felt it was very important to accurately portray the look and feel of the original book, — which tells the story from the dog’s point-of-view — in a way that translates to the stage. â€œ
The music is written by front-man Dennis DeYoung for the 1970’s rock band Styx
The cast includes adults on stilts, children as puppies, and about 15 actual Dalmatians, most of which were rescued from animal shelters across the country, and now made to work for their food. These are supplemented by several dozen cardboard cutouts
Cruella De Vil, a character said to be inspired by Tallulah Bankhead, was played at the beginning of the tour by Rachel York, but is now being played by Sara Gettelfinger, who has appeared frequently on Broadway, including â€œSuessical the Musicalâ€ in â€œDirty Rotten Scoundrelsâ€ opposite John Lithgow, and as Carla in â€œNineâ€ with Antonio Banderas.
The remaining tour schedule:
Columbus, Ohio March 2 to 7 at The Palace
Indianapolis, Indiana, Marcy 9 to March 14 at Clowes Hall
Providence, Rhode Island, March 16 to March 21
New York, New York April 07, 2010 â€” April 18, 2010 at The WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden
San Antonio, May 4 to May 9 at the Majestic Theatre
Kansas City, May 11 to May 16 at the Music Hall