Dogging it

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  March 17, 2010

My favorites are the Pongos, because of the actors playing them. As Pongo, Ludwig conveys a dogs intelligence by alert attention and peppy spirit, not overdoing either attribute. Ojeda's Missus is equally spirited, especially when maternally motivated by the theft of her pups, and she has a gentle feminine charm.

Her polar opposite is the sneering Cruella DeVil — "If she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will," her song goes. With twisted half-black, half-white hair towering above her and with a wicked laugh, Gettelfinger spits threats through blood red lips and makes being evil look like such good sport that impressionable children in the audience should have their eyes and ears clamped shut.

What fun.

The actual Dalmatians onstage are rescue dogs gathered coast-to-coast. The program makes a lengthy point about how such dogs might not be as cute and obedient as the well-trained pooches seen here, hoping to avert a fad that ends in the animals being abandoned at fire stations around the country. It's not every Broadway production company that is so conscientious. Give them a little extra applause for that.

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