THERE ain’t no party like a dog party.
Generations of children have fallen in love with P.D. Eastman’s madcap, colorful picture book Go, Dog. Go! (If you’re not familiar, get a copy of the 1961 classic and share it with the child in your life immediately!)
No ordinary canines, the pooches in Go, Dog. Go! race cars, zip around on scooters, don fabulous party hats, and reach the ultimate goal: organizing a giant picnic celebration for dogs of all colors and sizes in the top of a giant, towering tree (#partygoals).
Now, thanks to Steven Dietz and Allison Gregory, Eastman’s classic has its own stage production.
Created for the Seattle Children’s Theatre by Dietz and Gregory in 2003, the play became a national sensation, snapped up quickly by theatres throughout America. It’s a fabulous introduction to theatre for young children with its playful yet educational nature.
Savannah Children’s Theatre discovered the fun and whimsy of Go, Dog, Go! as it gained popularity around 2006-2007, creating a production that starred all adults.
“This time, we wanted to do it with all kids,” explains director Jenn Doubleday. “We’ve got a cast of thirteen, ages seven to 15, and we really just sort of giggled the whole way through rehearsals!”
The cast is comprised of Children’s Theatre veterans and newbies hailing from Savannah, Richmond Hill, and Pooler.
Doubleday attests that the stage production is “almost exactly like” Eastman’s original book.
“It is simple, it is fun, the dogs have a picnic birthday party and play in the way that humans enjoy to play,” she elaborates.
The book was ever-present during rehearsals.
“As we got to each famous part of the story, we could recreate those images onstage that kids and parents will both remember,” she says.
Doubleday points out that Eastman and Dr. Seuss were good friends and business partners; people who may not be familiar with Go, Dog. Go! will find a similar aesthetic in the set and feel of SCT’s production.
“It shares the frivolity and creativity of Dr. Seuss,” she says.
The costumes and set were created entirely by a team of dedicated volunteers. With Tori Holcey, Finn Repella, and Maggie Sinclair on Run Crew, Bonnie Juengert, Rose Shaw, Diedra Wirick in charge of costumes, Lisa James and Jessica Reimer behind the props, Holcey and Jake Kawatski responsible for scene painting, and Carly Hallman designing posters, the vision truly took shape.
“[The cars] are all color-coordinated to match their dogs,” says Doubleday. “There are jackhammers, saws, roller coasters, picnics, candelabras, we have bubbles, glow sticks, and steering wheels!”
The cast and crew are looking forward to welcoming generations of Go, Dog, Go! lovers to the theatre.
“We always try to offer shows in our season that will appeal to every age group: pre-k, primary students, and hopefully parents and grandparents will remember [the book] being read to them,” says Doubleday. “We are a nonprofit theatre; we do this simply to bring joy to the community. Go, Dog. Go! is a great way to do that.”
Savannah Children’s Theatre presents: Go, Dog. Go!
Friday, April 1-Sunday, April 10
Fridays at 7 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m.
$15 adults, $13 seniors, military, and children via savannahchildrenstheatre.org