It’s raining cats and dogs at area theaters. Mostly dogs. Live animals have been a part of the theater world since its beginnings in the Greek festival of Dionysus, in which animals were ripped limb-from-limb in an orgiastic frenzy. That doesn’t happen anymore, fortunately, but there are an awful lot of dogs on stage these days, including, coincidentally, two canine Sandys who currently are adding a little havoc to productions of “Annie” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.”
The role: Sandy.
Where it came from: Having played Sandy in the Jamie Foxx film version of “Annie,” chow/golden retriever Marti is a stage and screen veteran, taught by famed showbiz trainer Bill Berloni.
Why it’s on stage: Because he is Annie’s constant companion.
The poop situation: Marti has a tough act to follow. Her predecessor in “Annie” productions across the country racked up 1,400 performances without an accident.
(Dec. 7-31 at Ordway Center)
The role: Unnamed.
Where it came from: Actor Sun Mee Chomet suggested her friend’s dog, a Maltese Yorkie named Lily Bee, for the part. And a star is born.
Why it’s on stage: To illustrate that owner Anne de Bourgh wants a lapdog, not a husband.
The poop situation: He’s actually supposed to disgrace himself on stage but — at least on opening night — the actors just pretended he did.
(Through Dec. 30 at the Jungle)
The role: Sandy.
Where it came from: Mixed Blood staffer Madilynn Garcia’s mutt, Felix Garcia, snagged the cameo role.
Why it’s on stage: To show the main character’s warmer side and to balance out the show, which starts with a dead dog on stage.
The poop situation: Felix’s record was impeccable, although there were a few rogue barks.
(Through Dec. 10 at Mixed Blood)
The role: Pepe.
Where it came from: This role (in real life, a chihuahua) has not yet been cast but artistic director Sarah Rasmussen is on the lookout.
Why it’s on stage: To emphasize the loneliness of Billie Holiday at the end of her life.
The poop situation: It’s a very brief role, so Billie (Thomasina Petrus) — who holds the dog while singing — should be safe.
(Opening at the Jungle May 26, 2018)
The role: Crab.
Where it came from: The black lab (real name: Bear) is owned by actor George Keller, with whom he performed in the show.
Why it’s on stage: You’ll have to ask William Shakespeare, who wrote Crab into the play.
The poop situation: Bear was a complete gentleman.
(Staged last year at the Jungle)