Some days, being a dramaturg is tough work, but when you’re working on a comedy like Sylvia, where the assignment is to look at dogs, talk about dogs, think about how dogs behave – well, it’s just plain fun. The other day, I shared photos of some of the dogs of Geva – today, I’ve got great stories about the dogs in the Sylvia company.
Let’s start with Blake, director Mark Cuddy’s sweet yellow lab. Mark says, “We adopted him from Louisiana when he was a year old in 2014, after seeing photos and a video. Our youngest had gone off to college the year prior. Classic empty nest syndrome. He arrived outside NYC in a crate on a tractor trailer with dozens and dozens of other adopted dogs. Needless to say, he is happy to be in a loving home – but not nearly as happy as Christina and me, his adopted owners. The funny thing about this photo is that Blake is usually nervous in cars, elevators, etc. Somehow he got very serene and struck the “noble dog” pose on this pontoon boat last summer on Skaneateles Lake.”
Actress Dee Hoty, playing Kate in Sylvia, told us about how she found her dog, Sophie. Dee was performing for Broadway Barks, an adoption event in New York City featuring Broadway performers. She was waiting for her turn to introduce a dog, and a friend who knew she liked Pomeranians told her she just had to meet this cute three legged dog. The volunteer who was holding the dog asked Dee if she’d like to hold her, and Dee picked up the dog and the dog looked up at Dee and she knew – this was her dog. But it was time for her to go onstage – a stagehand gave her the card of the dog she had to introduce – and it was Sophie, the very dog she’d just fallen in love with! Dee did her job, introducing Sophie to the audience, and then said, “If you’d like to adopt this dog, too bad, because she’s mine!”
Jen Cody (Sylvia) and Hunter Foster (Tom, Phyllis and Leslie) had just lost their beloved dog Chewbacca, and weren’t quite ready to adopt another yet. But they happened to find a photo of a dog named Yoda, on a website for an organization that rescues dogs from the beaches of Puerto Rico. It seemed like fate – Yoda was a two year old male dog, and they really didn’t want a puppy. There was a huge waiting list, but they decided to put their name on the list anyway. They were surprised and happy to get a call saying they’d been chosen to adopt Yoda, so they went to pick him up. What they were given was not a two year old male, but a six month old female. Jen and Hunter went ahead and adopted her anyway, and Charo has made herself a permanent fixture in their lives!
Stage manager Jenn Lyons and her husband Michael were on tour together with The Lion King, but had been thinking of getting a puppy at some point. While in Arizona, they visited a dog breeder and one puppy just stole their hearts. And Hershey toured with them for the next two years. Clearly her early training left a mark – she seems perfectly at home in costume!
Assistant stage manager Jenny Daniels and her husband Brian decided to foster dogs for the Verona Street Shelter, and Liv was their first foster dog. Jenny says that they failed at fostering because they fell in love with her and just couldn’t imagine her leaving their home – but I think we can all agree that Liv definitely won – she found her forever home, where she is clearly spoiled…!
Finally, I’m the dramaturg on the show (yes, count ’em – four Jennifers on this one production – and each one spells her name differently…). Our son had been begging for a dog for ages, and this summer, we adopted Misty from Joyful Rescues, an awesome organization that rescues dogs and cats from kill shelters in the South, and brings them up to our region (they’re based in Buffalo, but have adoption events at the Webster Petsmart nearly every week). Misty was found in Virginia, and she’s part of a rescue sponsored by a family in honor of their cat, named Smokey. My wife Emily and I think that we named Misty after the ballet dancer, Misty Copeland, but our son is convinced she’s named after a Pokemon trainer, also named Misty. She has certainly changed our lives, and according to our son, is the best dog – EVER. For our cat Rex, the jury’s still out…
More stories of the dogs of Geva later this week!