Humane Society partners with local theater to find featured canine for musical

2013-08-24T20:15:00Z 2014-07-16T09:25:50Z Humane Society partners with local theater to find featured canine for musicalZACH BUCHHEIT Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | The three dozen or so eager candidates who brought their star power to auditions Saturday had tails and four legs.

That's because the Siouxland Humane Society held the auditions to find a dog to be the face of LAMB Arts Regional Theatre’s next production, "BARK! The Musical."

Dog owners brought their dogs to PetSmart at Lakeport Commons to be professionally photographed for a chance to be the featured dog on a poster at the play’s opening night, Sept. 13.

All proceeds from the contest, which is in its first year, will be donated to the Humane Society.

“I think it exceeded our expectations,” said LaVon Stroh, director of development for the Siouxland Humane Society. “You know, people love to have their animals’ photos taken. And it’s great for us from a shelter standpoint to see people who spoil their pets, who see their pets as part of their families.”

The contest winners, to be announced on the musical’s opening night, will receive complimentary tickets to the show, and all entrants received discounted tickets and photos of their dogs. All who attend the show are also encouraged to bring pet supplies to the theater to be donated to the Humane Society.

“Everywhere this show is played, it’s played to sold-out audiences and added performances, and they always encourage everyone who does the show to partner with an animal organization and raise money for animal causes,” said Jesscia Wheeler, LAMB theater’s box office marketing manager.

Wheeler, who will be in the production, said she was pleased with the success of the photo contest and happy to be part of the musical’s tradition.

“We’ve had everything from a teacup Chihuahua to an English mastiff that weighed 200 pounds,” she said.

The nationally acclaimed musical, which is privately licensed by its creators out of California, follows the lives of six canines for one day at doggy day care and “possesses the huge heart and the playful joyfulness present in man's truest friends,” the theater’s website said.

“I’m in the show, and I still haven’t been able to make it through rehearsal without cracking up and then turning around and crying,” Wheeler said. “Because every good comedy should have something in there that’s a little bit of a tear-jerker. So be prepared.”

The production runs through Oct. 6 and includes 13 performances.

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