When my 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son saw me working on the October issue of PDX Parent that mentioned the upcoming Dog Man the Musical from Oregon Children’s Theatre, they immediately asked to go. They are both huge fans of graphic novelist Dav Pilkey and his seriously silly stories.
Since my daughter, Adela, had a field trip to Dog Man in the books, I only took my son, Cruz, to opening day of the show. On the way to the Newmark Theatre, Cruz said that he might not like Dog Man the Musical because we had been to New York City over the summer and had seen Hadestown on Broadway. He was incredibly impressed by the singing, dancing and staging — and has been listening to the Hadestown soundtrack since. I told him, I bet he would still really like it because he likes Dog Man so much.
I was right. Cruz loved it. The play with a six-person cast mostly follows the plot from the book Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties. The beginning of the show sees George Beard and Harold Hutchins in their tree house explaining how they decided to write a musical instead of their usual comics. Cruz was impressed with the adult actors playing kids. “They did a really good job pretending they were George and Harold,” he says.
From then on Dog Man and company romp through two acts of singing cats, a bionic, evil fish, giant buildings come to life, and a robot dance party. It’s all the humor and outlandishness of a Dav Pilkey graphic novel live on stage. And, like a Pilkey graphic novel, there’s plenty of potty humor such as when Dog Man raises his leg to pee on Chief’s desk or when Chief exclaims, “don’t smell my butt Dog Man!” Of course it all got big laughs from my 7-year-old and the kids around us.
I thought Flippy stole the show when she sang I’m Back. And Cruz liked the opening Dog Man song, Robo-Dance Party and Happy Song. “Robo-Dance Party was really funny and Lil Petey has a really squeaky voice,” he says. (I felt validated by Lil Petey’s voice since I use a baby voice for Lil Petey when reading Dog Man to my kids!)
The 75-minute show moved fast, which was good since my 7-year-old started getting squirmy around the 60 minute mark. Dog Man the Musical is a fun and lively show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Early readers who have just discovered the antics of Dog Man will love it as much as older elementary school kids who eagerly await new Dav Pilkey graphic novels. And grown-ups will enjoy watching their kids giggle delightedly.
Now though November 20. Saturdays at 2 pm and 5 pm; Sundays at 11 am and 2 pm. Find tickets at octc.org
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