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Tag: musical

Accordion-playing dog fails to impress

I wasn’t personally tuned in, but it seems Pup, the accordion-playing pooch vying to win the NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” competition, failed to make much of an impression last night.

Maybe he was overwhelmed by the bright lights, the big stage and the huge Hollywood crowd, but Pup only tugged a couple of times on the elastic strap attached to the accordion, and once it snapped out of his mouth, he stayed away from the accordion altogether.

After Pup balked, the act turned into a solo — basically his owner, Ed,  singing and strumming “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”

Pup failed to live up to the expectations of the judges, and his owner, Ed, from Oakhurst, California — and anyone else who saw his impressive audition tape (above).

“If Pup had continued we may have had a sensation on our hands, but we’re never going to know,” said judge Piers Morgan, who “X-ed” the act early on.

“We had some problems,” Ed explained afterward.

Pup’s on air performance — a bit painful to watch — is included in the video below.

Life after Broadway is fine with Fred

*Feb 27 - 00:05*

A stray South Bronx mutt who was “discovered” in a shelter and went on to appear in the hit musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” is enjoying his retirement in a posh home on the upper West Side.

Found wandering the streets as an 8-month-old pup, Fred landed at an ASPCA shelter in New York in early 2005. 

There Bill Berloni, a theatrical animal agent who has trained stray dogs for Broadway shows for more than 30 years, found Fred, took him home and spent a year working with the dog.

Berloni, who also is a behavior consultant for the Humane Society of New York — a no-kill shelter that supports rescued animals — took Fred, a terrier mix, to try out against dozens of other canine hopefuls at the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” auditions.

The New York Daily News recounted Fred’s “wags to riches” story in an article today.

When the show closed in 2006, Berloni arranged for Fred (third from the left in the photo) to be adopted by Chris Grabenstein and his wife, J.J. Myers.

Grabenstein, an author of adult mysteries and childrens’ ghost stories, has created a character based on him. The couple also built a rooftop dog area, where Fred can continue to enjoy the bright lights of the big city.

Dalmatians go from shelter to show business

101 dalmatians

The Walt Disney movie, “101 Dalmatians,” led to a pretty well-documented surge in their popularity, followed by a surge in members of the  breed being dropped off at shelters and rescues.

When it comes to the musical version of “101 Dalmatians,” though, some abandoned dalmatians actually got rescued — sprung to take part in the play’s final production number.

The cast of the musical “101 Dalmatians,”  includes 15 dalmatians, most of whom were procured at shelters by Florida animal trainer Joel Slaven oversees, according to the Los Angeles Time’s Unleashed blog.

The musical, which begins its national tour this month in Minneapolis, ends with a three-minute finale — a song written by Dennis DeYoung, a founding member of the band Styx — in which only dogs are on the stage. It’s the only time actual dogs appear in the play, in which humans play the roles of dogs.

Slaven said dalmatians were overbred to meet public demand for the breed after the Disney movie. As a result, the breed, health and behavior problems among them grew more prevalent. “People got the dogs, couldn’t afford vet bills, found the dogs untrainable, or didn’t get along with kids,” he said.

Slaven said he chose high spirited dogs, less likely to be adopted dogs for the performance. “These are the outgoing, playful, confident dogs — the dogs that aren’t going to be happy laying on someone’s couch each day,” he said. “They’re the ones chewing and barking because they want to be doing something.” 

Slaven hopes to find permanent owners for the dogs at the end of the tour, slated to run through at least June 2010. If  any don’t end up with homes, he says he’ll bring them back to his ranch.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, at Sonar, tomorrow

annie1The national touring company of “Annie” will present an evening of cabaret-style entertainment Monday night at Sonar to raise money for the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS).

They will be performing favorites from some of the best musicals of all time.

Doors open at 7:30pm and the show is appropriate for all ages. There is a $15 cover charge and all proceeds will be donated to BARCS.

Sonar is at 407 E. Saratoga St. in downtown Baltimore. For more information, call 410-783-7888.