'101 Dalmatians Musical' Stars Real Rescue Dogs On Stage

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Dalmatian dogs picture

Jada and Bella pose in front of their "Puppy Palace" tour bus. Photo: The 101 Dalmatians Musical

Unless you're Cruella de Vil, you are guaranteed to love the new "101 Dalmatians" musical -- especially since all of the animal actors are shelter rescues.

"The script for the musical is based on the original 1956 book by Dodie Smith in which the story is told from the dogs' perspectives," the show's producer, Lee Marshall, tells Paw Nation. "Nothing in the musical is related to any of the motion pictures," he says, referring to the 1961 animated Walt Disney movie and the 1996 live-action film starring Glenn Close.

To illustrate the world as the dogs see it, all the human actors will be on 15-inch stilts surrounded by an extra-tall set scaled to show a dog's eye view of the world. The lead dog roles of Pongo and Missus Perdita -- whose Dalmatian puppies are stolen by the evil Cruella de Vil -- will be played by human actors dressed in fashionably spotted suits, and child actors will play the puppies.

But Marshall sprinkles each performance with real Dalmatians. Fifteen fortunate pups bound on the stage at the end of Act 1 and during the show's finale, performing choreographed movements set to music written by Dennis DeYoung, founding member of the legendary band Styx.

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